So if you thought Saturday was the last night fun night of the weekend, think again. On Sunday night – The Flaming Lips brought their There Should Be Unicorns Tour to Maplewood’s The Myth. The weekend wasn’t over until The Flaming Lips said it was over. And thanks to an over the top, off the wall evening of the music – the weekend in the Twin Cities went out with a bang. Supporting The Flaming Lips on tour was our favorite prankster Mac DeMarco and up and comers Chappo.
From the guy in a Care Bear Onsie to the lady in the “adult” Dorthy from Wizard of Oz costume there was no shortage of weird in the Myth either, in the best possible way – exactly what you’d want at a Flaming Lips show
Imagine being a band with a little less than 2K followers on Instagram and a modest 8K likes on Facebook and then getting to go on tour with Mac DeMarco and The Flaming Lips. That is just the case for Brooklyn-based four piece, Chappo.
And no they don’t get their name from Mexican drug lord El Chapo, though their psychedelic sound has plenty of not so subtle substance references (such as the letters LSD flashing on the lcd screen behind them). Rather they take their name from frontman Alex Chappo. In addition to guitarist/vocalist Chappo – Chris Olson (keys), Zac Colwell (drums) and Dave Feddock (guitarist) round out this quartet whose been making music together since 2007.
St. Paul was their first show with DeMarco and The Flaming Lips, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from their set. They played through their short but sweet set with ease. With plenty of Flaming Lips influences on their avant-garde set such as light up glasses, sparkly jackets and trippy video looping behind them, Chappo was the perfect way to start to the evening.
It was a packed house by the time Mac DeMarco took to the stage at The Myth. It had been four years since DeMarco last played the Twin Cities or the “MSP area, baby” as he loving (we think) referred to it through the evening.
There was a palpable energy in the air as DeMarco took center stage and with almost a Grand Ole Opry vibe, one by one introducing his band and the other bands on the ticket for the evening. “We heard from Chappo, and now I’m going to play some songs for you, and then The Flaming Lips are going to play some more songs for us,” DeMarco joked through his signature gap toothed smile.
If you’re not familiar with DeMarco, he’s basically become indie music’s King of Weird in recent years. He’s become music’s best friend – with a vibe that’s equal parts playful frat bro, grungy prankster, and denim-clad party boy.
In addition to the goofy persona DeMarco has crafted over the years, he’s also become one of the more prolific singer/songwriters of our generation. Beyond DeMarco’s pure charisma and free-spirited unconventionally, there is a truly talented multi-instrumentalist. You don’t just snag a tour spot with The Flaming Lips for being “fun” after-all.
Both sides of DeMarco had a chance to shine at The Myth. The playful side like during a venue wide sing-along to the mega-hit Salad Days, and the more serious, songwriter side during the twangy love song My Kind of Woman. There wasn’t a dull moment in DeMarco’s set. Ending his set with kissing members of his band, calling his tour photographer on stage to lift him up on his shoulders, oh and random covers including Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 Miles, it was the signature whirlwind of off the wall antics on full display. But it’s just that and more that has made DeMarco the King of Weird we’ve all come to know and love. Taking breaks from the music only for swigs of Miller Lite and one-liners, DeMarco gave The Myth on hell of a show.
The Flaming Lips
By the time Mac DeMarco wrapped up his set, it had already thinned out a bit in the Myth. Since it was an all ages show – there was quite the diverse crowd. A decent handful of the younger crowd seemed to be there for DeMarco, while the most seasoned show-goers were there for the main act – The Flaming Lips. The Twin Cities was just one of many stops on The Flaming Lips, There Should Be Unicorns Tour.
In case you’ve been living under the rock for the past say, two decades, The Flaming Lips are known for their over-the-top, indulgent, larger than life live shows. Dawned in head to toe red and his signature eye patch and wily grey hair, frontman Wayne Coyne’s live persona is part orchestra conductor part Willy Wonka part Wizard of Oz. From riding around The Myth on a plastic unicorn covered in lights throwing confetti in the faces of fans to light up lcd rope lights that flash in time with the music to canons upon canons upon cannons of confetti to giant balloons – it was nonstop colorful madness at The Myth.
“So this is a super easy song, the only words are yeah yeah yeah. There’s another part in the middle that goes no no no” Coyne joked ahead of The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song. “But everyone here already seems pretty fucked up so just worry about the yeah yeah yeah part and you’ll be good. If I were you, that’s all I’d worried about,” Coyne went on. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song was just one of my highlights from the set. Coyne and The Flaming Lips also dedicated Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung to the late Grant Hart, a Twin Cities music legend. Their David Bowie cover of Space Oddity was flawless.
Watching The Flaming Lips play song after song, and command the crowd with such an unmatched charisma, it was a reminder why they have become one of the biggest bands of this generation. It was amazing to witness a band of this size and popularity play the show with an energy like it was their first or last. It was a set they’ve probably done dozens upon dozens of time but it felt uniquely personal and special to St. Paul (the giant silver Fuck Yeah St. Paul Balloon helped). It was truly a show to be experienced, covered in glitter and confetti and all.
Set List: Race for the Prize / Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 / There Should Be Unicorns / Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung (dedicated to Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü) / The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power) / How?? / Space Oddity (David Bowie cover) / Are You a Hypnotist?? / A Spoonful Weighs a Ton / Encore: Almost Home (Live debut) / She Don’t Use Jelly / Do You Realize??