As the typical crowds of Brisbane dispersed between the weekend's events such as Listen Out and Riverfire, the ‘weird’ of Brisbane flocked together as one and rejoiced for the presence of old school legends, The Flaming Lips.
If there were any concerns of punters not receiving their dosage of strangeness, they were quickly laid to rest as support act, The Grates took centre stage. Sporting a feathery fluorescent coloured costume, purple tights and a frill necked top, lead singer Patience Hodgson looked like a Frill-necked lizard walking out of its first bush doof. The costume, her quirkiness, and the bands ability to perform one of the most underrated Australian rock shows set the tone for the remainder of the night.
Running through their repertoire of albums and performing crowd favourites such as '19-20-20', 'Sweet Dreams' and 'Science Is Golden', the Brisbane legends are showing no signs of slowing down 17 years into their tenure as a band. Their energy, especially Patience’s stage presence, whipped the crowd into a slight frenzy as fans old and new were gifted with a performance worth turning up early for.
Finishing off procedures with ‘Aw Yeah’ and ‘Turn Me On’ The Grates had us hyped with anticipation before the main act. “You guys are about to see the f*cking Flaming Lips” they said as they seemed just as excited as we were.
From the opening moment Wayne Coyne walked out, the crowd was in the palm of his hand and he never let go. A charismatic, psychedelic, rock star in all forms. This man is a truly special performer, still at the height of his powers some 30 years later.
Breaking into their first song of the evening ‘Race for the Prize’, The Fortitude Music Hall was a sea of colour and confetti, as giant balloons floated through the crowd and an inflatable sign with the words ‘F*ck Yeah Brisbane’ was displayed on stage. Something most bands leave for the last song of the night but in the words of Wayne Coyne “This isn’t any other gig you go to, this is a Flaming Lips gig and we do things a little differently”. He wasn’t wrong. The psychedelic lighting show, the balloons, the confetti, the spaceman outfit, it’s nothing you would witness anywhere else and they were just starting out.
Running through a set list featuring classics such as ‘The Spiderbite Song’, ‘Buggin’, ‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton’ and ‘What Is The Light?’ The Flaming Lips had the crowd at their feet. No, literally at their feet, as the stage went dark and Wayne had entered a giant inflatable balloon before walking into the crowd. It was a crazy night and hard to think of what else they could do to make it even crazier.
But it was the 2 encores that left crowd in complete awe. Leaving stage for a brief 5 minutes which was more of a well deserved break compared to an encore as we all knew they weren’t leaving us there.
Returning as predicted, the crowd erupted into cheers as the opening riff to ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ filled our ears. With fun lyrics that explain The Flaming Lips as a band, this crowd-favourite lit up the room and lifted everyone to another level.
As everyone was picking back up, The Flaming Lips slowed it down with ‘Are You A Hypnotist’ all the while a giant pink robot was being inflated in front of us. The smiles in the crowd rung from ear to ear as we all knew what was coming.
‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt.1.’How does a band get away with a song name as nuts as this? I will never understand but the crowd and admittedly myself busted out every lyric. All the while karate chopping the air on Wayne’s queue. It doesn’t get more entertaining than this.
To finish off the evening, they left the stage for a brief breather before returning to play potentially the most lyrically stunning song of all time ‘Do You Realize’. An amazing finish to what could be the most captivating performance the Fortitude Music Hall has witnessed yet.