The Varsity Gets Freaky With The Claypool Lennon Delirium Thursday Night


The Claypool Lennon Delirium brought their psychedelic rock to the Varsity Theater on Thursday night. Consisting of bass savant and Primus founder Les Claypool and Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, this band had a lot of hype to live up too. Full disclosure, I needed no convincing, I’ve seen Les with Primus, Oysterhead and The Frog Brigade, and I’m consistently blown away with his fretboard skills. The guys are out supporting their second collaboration, South Of Reality.

Opening for the Delirium were LA rockers Uni. Holy crap, I was not prepared for Uni. Psychedelic Glam rock, is that a thing? Well it is now. Glitter,makeup sequins and platform shoes. And rock hard they did, even though the combined weight of the 5 band members was less than a Marshall half stack. (The singer was eclipsed by the mic stand) With walloping drums, searing guitar and bass in your face, this band punched wayyyy above their weight.

With Uni opening, it was a sure bet that it was going to get freaky, and the boys jumped right in with “There’s No Underwear In Space”, a line made famous by George Lucas. With some spacey keyboards creating an astral atmosphere, the short instrumental played as the band members assembled on the dark stage. Bathed in a purple light, they transitioned deftly into the first of a few tasty covers, Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine”. The night had a very classic rock feel to it, and the playful “Little Fishes” not only highlighted Sean’s guitarwork with searing solos and vintage wah wah, but also showcased his lyrical abilities. He really does sound like his dad, and that’s a good thing.

The band leaned heavily on the new album, with half the tunes coming from that release. South Of Reality has much more of a Sean Lennon influence, the music is much more psychedelic, and played well live. “Blood And Rockets”, a tune about the founder of the Jet Propulsion Lab, Lennon was front and center with outstanding lead vocals and guitar. The tune definitely had notes of Floyd meets Beatles. The highlight of the set was the raucous version of King Crimson’s “The Court Of The Crimson King.” Again, Sean’s amazing guitar work had the crowd captivated.

When Les Claypool wasn’t slapping, picking, bending and dancing, he regaled the audience with stories and anecdotes. Both he and Sean seemed amazingly at ease together. These guys seem to be of one shared cosmic consciousness. They are like chicken and waffles, kinda weird combo but amazing together. This melded into the Friday afternoon, work is done for the week, crank it up to 11 “Amethyst Realm.” Ahh, a guitar solo for the ages.

Les and Sean showed there is no limit to there smart, psychedelic madness, and let’s hope this musical marriage continues unabated for the ages.