So I went to the Flaming Lips show this past Friday in Detroit last minute. Opening band was bringing it. Lush interesting psychedelic chords. Groovy beats and moves. Drums, keys, hot chick on bass who could play, and singer on lead guitar.
As set went on, and songs got even more intriguing and intense, they started trading solos, and they were real solos; fully capable chops but using them to play notes to elevate the music intensity. No posturing, just in their zone leaving it on the field for the song.
They looked cool, and were ridiculously relaxed and confident in their stage manner. Playing their songs earnestly, going for it for themselves while presenting it professionally and with nimble skill. Seasoned.
Something keeps my spidey-sense tingling as I try to figure out who this band is, who this singer is who keeps revealing more and more every song how f*cking ridiculously adept his playing and soloing is. I start wondering if the Slash-esque top hot, blown out hair coming out the sides framing the face and glasses means this guy is a little older, been around the block. They sure play like pro's. There's something familiar about him. The British naval trench coat and fat Gibson mask whether he's a little chubby or just too fashionably layered.
I squint more to study the face. Something about the nose. Something about the way he grooves to the music while watching his band mates do their thing. It seems like he's not moving much unless you really watch that he's just bobbing a little bit. Why does this seem so comfortable and familiar?
Then another soaring song and he's ripping another fantastic lead. It's like a Floyd jam, everything rising, more musical noise, while the foundation is still set. Then it hits me. Or I think it hits me, but I'm shocked at the revelation. It can't be. But goshdammit I'm 99% sure it is, but how did i not hear or know this? Could this fantastically good guitar player be him? I'm gonna ask and someone's gonna laugh me out of the room. Well, f*ck it, I'm askin' so I did.
It was f*cking Sean Lennon.
I was at the merch table immediately after they left the stage asking which CD was THAT! that I just heard, which was to roaring applause. And the energy of the place to me, seemed most people didn't know it was John Lennon's kid. (Not that it matters, but I'd rather people didn't have that pre-disposition going in and just liked what they heard first.) I was already a devout Julian Lennon fan from day 1 and watching Sean for awhile, checking stuff out with his various projects. But this was miles ahead to my ears.
I was so happy for him and his band - like this might finally get people seeing that the stupid adage all these years that "Julian got the talent, Sean got the money" is such bullshit and mean-spirited. It's never been true, and I look forward to Sean getting his due for being so talented.
Anyway, the closest sound to this live show was this album:
Basically they did this stuff, but in a Smashing Pumpkins/Floyd at Pompeii kinda way. More electric rock, kinda like The Church when they're plugged in.
This group is called Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger (or GOASTT as they abbreviate in print media). It's him and his french girlfriend model Charlotte Kemp. They're usually acoustic, this album is more mellowly rounded with full instrumentation, kinda like the new Iron and Wine album. I'm still trying to find recordings of the electric assault they do now for the Lips tour.
Bob Edwards from NPR did an interview with GOASTT here:
Jump in to the music. You'll be glad you did.