Mark Metcalfe, Getty When the Flaming Lips played Spinner's free NXNE show in…
- Posted on May 27th 2011 7:30AM by Richard Moore
Jordi Vidal, Redferns
High praise from a man whose band of day-glo, neo-psychedelic sound explorers have become a must-see draw on festival stages across the globe over the last decade. Returning to headline Primavera Sound 2011 five years after they last topped the bill in 2006, the Lips greeted an enormous main stage crowd at 2:30AM in full-on carnival mode.
Their party tricks may now be well-worn -- Wayne's inflatable ball crowd excursion, hundreds of gigantic confetti-filled balloons, stage-side troupes of cheerleaders in fancy dress and enough tickertape to shame Times Square on New Year's Eve -- but they never fail to dazzle and delight. In fact there's no other band capable of whipping up the sort of giddy joy, innocent wonder and melancholic reflection that reduced at least one grown, Joy Division t-shirted man in Spinner's vicinity to a flood of tears.
Material from 2009's more plaintive, introspective 'Embryonic' set still sits a little uncomfortably within the previously 100-percent life-affirming mix. Amidst the likes of 'She Don't Use Jelly,' 'Race for the Prize' and 'Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,' it brought any gleeful regression to a halt, stopping a few fluorescent cupcakes short of a kids' birthday party. That said, an epic, laser-lit 'Do You Realize??' ensured that day one of the Catalan festival ended on a resounding high.