The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

When: 27th May 2022
Location: Barrowland

Tickets: from £42.40 Get Tickets

The Flaming Lips are the irreverent psych-rockers returning to the UK and Ireland in May 2022. Celebrating the 2020 release of their 16th album American Head. As well as four decades of dazzling and maximalist prog-pop flamboyance. Coming to Glasgow’s Barrowland on 27th May 2022.

In many ways The Flaming Lips’ chaotic but nevertheless unwavering devotion to bold, artistic expression can be traced to their formation in 1983. When brothers Wayne and Mark Coyne invited Michael Ivins to join a new musical project as their bassist. This was despite their friend having no apparent experience playing the instrument. Punk-rock looks and left-field ideas were more important to these youthful, self-proclaimed “Fearless Freaks” from Oklahoma City. But decades on and many line-up changes later, the band have become one of the most influential and respected experimental rock acts of their generation. 

After Mark’s early departure, Wayne stepped forward on vocal duties and became the band’s de facto ringleader. His salt and pepper curls have since become synonymous with the band. As well as with drummer Richard English, released their debut studio album Hear It Is in 1986. Their debut was followed by a string of releases that had a raw and reckless punk edge to them. Although no Lips album can ever really be easily pigeon-holed. 

The early 90s

The early 90s saw more coming-and-goings of members as the band signed to Warner. Their major label debut Hit To Death In The Future Head, which ushered in a new era of sound for the band. Defined by a tapestry of textures, Beatles-esque string orchestration and expansive, oddball noise-pop that culminated in their turn-of-the-millenium breakthrough, The Soft Bulletin. Nothing short of a pop wonderland, the record was their most melodic and accessible to date. But also their most ambitious in production, propelling them into the cosmos for the sci-fi psychedelia of 2002’s Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. Which would become their first Gold-certified album.

In 2009

In 2009, Yoshimi‘s grand, existential peak “Do You Realize??” became the official rock song of their home state, Oklahoma. But it was the double-album Embryonic that stole the attention that year. With its scuzzy, head-nodding grit and looming ominous tone. At the end of the year, together with Henry Rollins and Peaches, they released a cover album of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon. In this period, Coyne and co. developed a newfound taste for collaboration, working with the likes of Miley Cyrus. As well as Moby, Foxygen and Bon Iver. 2019’s dreamlike King’s Mouth even included spoken passages from The Clash’s Mick Jones.

Just like their surreal and esoteric song titles (and indeed band name), the Lips developed a striking visual identity. Alongside their music that came to life on their cover art, music videos and live tours, all swathed in kaleidoscopic colours. It was punctuated by on-stage U.F.Os, giant, laser-shooting hands and neon unicorns. In 2020, to promote their new album American Head and in their own typically playful take on social distancing, the Lips took to performing in inflatable plastic bubbles.  

American Head, the band’s sixteenth studio album, was released in September 2020 to critical acclaim. Appropriately featuring the cosmic country star Kacey Musgraves as its heady Americana underpinned Coyne’s reflections on growing up in Oklahoma

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