THE FLAMING LIPS [Which Stage | Friday, June 11 @ 12 a.m.]
If you've experience the Flaming Lips' live show, then you probably don't need an explanation as to why they're the perfect band to occupy a late-night set at a festival where psychedelics are considered part of a well-balanced breakfast. For the unfamiliar, let me paint a picture: a lady is stripping provocatively on a background LED screen. She removes her undies. Spreads her legs. Then the screen splits where her privates belong, and the Flaming Lips emerge. Antics involving confetti, fire extinguishers, and a giant hamster ball ensue. It's at this point that Wayne Coyne claims he doesn't smell enough weed smoke and urges people to light up.

When Embryonic dropped last year, I was a little confused by the Flaming Lips' apparent direction -- an abrupt shift back to the psychedelic experimentalism that defined their earlier sound. But finally getting around to seeing their live show suddenly made it all clear: they aren't out to craft slick pop sing-alongs (although they did encourage the audience to join in on nearly every song); they exist to blow people's minds. On top of their own material, they offered up a take on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for a second set. Unfortunately, I dipped out to catch the next act, but all accounts I heard after the fact indicated that they maintained the mayhem and delivered a solid rendition of the canonical hallucinatory album.

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