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The Flaming Lips, Cherry Glazerr

  • Orpheum 216 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

It is hard to think of a band that has squandered the good favor they’ve accumulated over decades more thoroughly than The Flaming Lips — and this while putting out more or less consistently good albums. But frontman Wayne Coyne’s predilections for aggravatingly meaningless PR stunts and putting out a stream of gimmicky unofficial product created with haphazardly chosen collaborators (often referred to under the moronic umbrella title of “Fwends” albums), plus a flashy but empty live spectacle that has remained essentially unchanged for nearly 15 years, have all but ensured that The Flaming Lips are now known to much of the general public as the backup band for that irritating old guy who runs around in a hamster ball and hangs out with young female pop stars in desperately creepy attempts to stay cool. This is really a shame, considering that the band still includes the phenomenally talented multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd as one of its main members, and that Coyne can still write and sing affecting songs when he wants to, and that the band are still theoretically capable of making great music (even if January’s Oczy Mlody is their least inspired album in 11 years). 2009’s Embryonic was a career highlight, which was a pretty amazing accomplishment for a band that had already put out a number of emotionally resonant and brilliantly crafted albums that altered the course of alternative and indie rock. But there’s a real chance that the sheer amount of clueless stupidity Coyne’s been responsible for over the last decade could have turned you off of the band forever, and, sadly, we wouldn’t blame you if that was the case. Rising garage punk band Cherry Glazerr are opening. — Mike Noto