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Greatly Average

I was supposed to go to this show tonight with a friend, but she called me and said she could not make it. I jumped in the shower, jumped out, did the hygiene thing, and realized I didn’t really feel like going either. So I called Lisa at the Warfield and she said:

“Why are you cancelling?”

“Because I can’t make it on time,” which was true at this point.

“Well you’re coming. Just get here before doors and it won’t be a problem. You do want to see the show, right? Get down here!”

So basically, she talked me into it. I got there just before the beginning of the meeting, which is not considered late. I managed to hit the BART train perfectly, within 30 seconds of its arrival, so I surprised even myself!

I took my spot in the lower loge, right of soundboard, which is my favorite place to ush. One of my patrons struck up a conversation with me. She is from SF, but living in LA and plays in three bands! She said one of them sounded like The Chipmunks doing Ben Folds Five. I need to hear this band, and I told her so. So she gave me her phone number to call her and get gig info from her. What, no website? Maybe they need a manager? (strokes non existent beard)

The Starlight Mints were first up, and they played a very nice retro spacey pop music thing. They did not want you to concentrate on their music it would seem, as they had a large screen with terribly obnoxious video clips and animation going on behind them. The absolute worst was one that was a giant hypnowheel of the kind used by Hypno, the Spider-Man villain. Drop the screen – you’re a good band! Let people HEAR you without having to shade their eyes.

Liz Phair came on next. She is a making a comeback after her bout with stage fright and her time off to be a mother. She was freaking great. From the sound of things, her new album will be tremendous (never mind the cover, va va voom). She will probably return to the role of critical darling that she had after Exile in Guyville.

Finally, the Flaming Lips came on stage. They all came out and helped set up their instruments, it seemed. And they walked on stage fairly nonchalantly with no real buildup. But then, Oh Fortuna!!! And the video started. Big giant words “THIS IS YOUR LIFE” matched with topless go-go dancers and a giant intro for The Flaming Lips. Very odd, very funny in a weird way.

The band themselves describe the scene at one of their shows as being like a giant kids’s birthday party. Let me explain. Passing into the audience from the band were giant baloons, ranging from giant to enormous to oh my god it’s coming at us! The lead singer, Wayne, was throwing confetti into the air and blowing it farther with some giant hair-dryer looking contraption. And on the side of the stage were about a dozen fans of the band in giant animal costumes, all dancing with handheld spotlights. There was dry ice aplenty, and the video screen was showing all sorts of edited video, from Krull and Battle Royale for example, as well as stock footage and original animations.

And the band played music, too. Their music is better than average. They have some hooks, but I don’t care for their arrangements too much. But combined with the sensory overload and absolutely joyous sold out crowd, it made for quite an entertaining evening. I can see why people want to come out and pay to see this band.

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