POSTED ON AUGUST 3, 2011:
The Freaks Come Out
Brady Block Party unleashes a huge lineup -- including the return of The Flaming Lips
When the partnership of DCF concerts, Doc Rock productions and Z104.5/The Edge came together to announce this weekend's Brady Block Party, the buzz was immediate. While it's certainly not a replacement for DFest, it does fill a gap that Free Tulsa couldn't. Positioned somewhere between DFest and the long departed EdgeFest, Brady Block Party serves up the kind of forward thinking headline acts that Free Tulsa couldn't approach.
In what is being promoted as the 1st Annual Brady Block Party, Tulsa gets a one day festival lineup that opens with Oklahoma City's Pretty Black Chains then moves directly into the headliners, building up steam as the day progresses with That One Guy, Particle, Solid Gold, Awol Nation and Civil Twilight. By the time 6pm rolls around MuteMath, Primus and The Flaming Lips cap off a bill that would more than justify the ticket price with just those three bands alone.
MuteMath is already an established local favorite in Tulsa, consistently putting on an amazing live show with its performances at Cain's Ballroom. In 2010, the band moved up to the Brady Theater when opening for 30 Seconds to Mars and nearly upstaged its headlining host. The band's return to Tulsa for Brady Block Party builds even more anticipation for the release of the group's third CD, Odd Soul, in October. Although this date isn't officially part of the Odd Soul Introduction Tour, Tulsa fans can hope to hear a live preview of a few of the new tracks to build expectations for the new disc.
Although Primus hasn't made a recent stop in Tulsa, the band has a loyal and cult-like following everywhere it goes and is known for its eclectic live show over all else. Even so, the pending release of a new CD, Green Naugahyde, on September 13, all but guarantees the appearance of new material to supplement an already heavy backlog of concert favorites.
Everything is merely foreplay for the headline act, however. When The Flaming Lips return to Tulsa this Saturday night, it will be the band's first appearance here since headlining DFest in 2007. When discussing this with lead singer Wayne Coyne last week, he acknowledged that the band hasn't been back here since its DFest appearance, but knows that many fans have seen it since then with relatively close performances in Oklahoma City.
When looking at the band's summer schedule, The Flaming Lips have been performing The Soft Bulletin and Dark Side of the Moon at select dates on the tour. When asked if the band had anything special planned for this performance, Coyne shared that Tulsa will get a full show that includes a little bit of everything. "After getting into those albums it's easy to work those songs into the set," he explained.
As it turns out, the band's arrival in Tulsa near the end of its summer tour works to our advantage as the band will have already fulfilled its contractual obligations on the special shows, freeing it up to play everything and anything in its return to T-Town. "I just hope we can play through the night," Coyne revealed, knowing that the Tulsa audience always arrives ready for a special experience.
With so much going on in the land of The Flaming Lips, it's hard to only focus on the live show, however. Ever busy and always coming up with fresh ideas to present new music and products, I had to take the opportunity to ask about one of the band's more progressive releases, the "Gummy Skull." For those not familiar, the Gummy Skull is a candy skull which has a flash drive with four new Flaming Lips songs embedded inside.
When asked who came up with this idea, Coyne admitted "for better or worse, I guess it was mine. We started out making skulls out of this formable plastic with the thought that you could break the skull open and get the music out. Then we started making some out of rubber..."
As the story goes, the band ended up making a skull out of fluorescent pink rubber and Coyne's wife, Michelle, who collects exotic perfumes, sprayed it with one that smelled like bubblegum. When holding a holiday party, a few friends "overindulged" and thought they could eat it, which led to Coyne and the band trying to make a skull out of bubblegum. Various issues, like how to insert the flash drive, derailed the idea, but the thought process continued.
"While we were searching, we found a guy who makes giant gummy bears," Coyne shared. "So we called him to see if he could make a skull. As it turns out, he's a huge Flaming Lips fan and he said 'Sure, no problem.' Within five days we had a skull. We figured out how to insert the flash drive, wrapped in plastic and now we've got the gummy skull -- so a lot of it is trial and error and serendipity."
"We're always evolving," Coyne shared. "Whatever the new gadget is or the new technology, we're all about it. It's always a visual thing, though, always about the show."
"Our greatest thing that we have, besides the lasers and fog and lights and stuff, is our audience," he continued. "One of the biggest things to experience at a Flaming Lips show is the audience. We have all of these freaks who all come out and come together and the people who meet at our shows often become friends for life. That's one of the greatest things about our live shows."
When talking about this weekend's Tulsa performance, Coyne said "It's Tulsa on a Saturday night at the end of the summer; I know that a lot of our friends are going to be coming from Oklahoma City and spending the night, so the show will be a big party. All of our other shows in the area are already sold out -- well, except for Kansas City, but that's an expensive ticket for that festival (Kanrocksas), so I've been telling people if you're going to come see us, Tulsa is the place to do it."
That gives Tulsa fans plenty of reason to look forward to the Brady Block Party this Saturday, August 6. Tickets are only $45 with service charges and the lineup offers up nine bands, including the triumphant return of The Flaming Lips to downtown Tulsa. Yes, the weather has been hot, but concert organizers have prepared for the heat with misting tents and plenty of concessions with cool water and medic tents for anyone suffering from heat related symptoms. Due to the weather, the festival will even allow attendees to come and go, as long as you get a wristband and your ticket punched for reentry.
Gates open at noon with Pretty Black Chains taking the stage at 12:25pm, followed by That One Guy, Particle, Solid Gold, Awol Nation, Civil Twilight, MuteMath and Primus before The Flaming Lips wrap up the night. Full details, including performance schedules, ticketing and heat advisory information are all provided online at bradytheater.com.
Overall, it will be a great day of music for those who miss the headliners of DFest and Edgefest, culminating in one of the biggest outdoor parties of the year. The real question is this: It's been four years, Tulsa; can you really stand to miss The Flaming Lips?
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