Famous primarily for Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (an admittedly awesome studio offering), The Flaming Lips are really revered in smaller, music-geek circles for what they do live.
The closest thing I’ve heard it compared to is the visual performance art of David Byrne and The Talking Heads, particularly in Jonathan Demme’s concert-movie Stop Making Sense (in which Byrne dons the fat suit). The Talking Heads, though, maintained a comparative distance from their audience — their art was a presentation. With The Flaming Lips it’s inclusive, the show is their gift to the audience, like they’re trying to give everyone a brilliant, exploding, colorful hug.
Here’s an offering off my favorite of their records, a loose (very loose) concept album called The Soft Bulletin. I’ve encountered a number of people lately who don’t know this band. That’s unacceptable. Know this band.
“…They’re just humans
with wives and children…”
Shaky, low-quality, in-the-audience Live:
[ed: My housemate, a fan, saw them live and was disappointed. Then again, Benji Hughes Went With Some Friends to See The Flaming Lips. Anyways, YMMV.]