Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Black Keys, Flaming Lips Show Different Sides of Rock Spectrum

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Black Keys, Flaming Lips Show Different Sides of Rock Spectrum

Article excerpt

The Black Keys have been touring "El Camino" since January 2012 with cool openers all along the way including Arctic Monkeys, Divine Fits and Tame Impala.

There has been nothing as far out there as The Flaming Lips, who've jumped on board for a four-show run. The opening night was Sunday in Kansas City, of which Lips member Steven Drozd told the Post-Gazette, "It was the Black Keys' crowd, but I was surprised by how open-minded the crowd did receive us. We didn't get booed."

Flaming Lips got the same cordial treatment in Pittsburgh Tuesday at a sold-out Consol Energy Center. The Oklahoma City band has mothballed its balloons-confetti-spaceball props for a dark, sci-fi treatment of its bleak new album, "The Terror."

Frontman Wayne Coyne was raised on a center podium cradling a baby doll attached to long tentacles that shot sparkling lights the width of the stage. It was like an alien invasion on Penguins ice. It was that weird and that dazzling.

The band's first trick was to turn the song "Look ... The Sun Is Rising" into something filled with noise and dread, and that carried through into pulsing, flashing electronic rock of "The Terror."

"The promoter wanted me to say," Mr. Coyne joked, pointing to the top rows with his spotlight, "that the ventilation is so good up there, you're allowed to smoke pot tonight."

This set didn't seem to require any extra mind-altering substances.

The Lips strayed from "Terror" with psych-rocker "The W.A.N.D.," a chaotic and messianic cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" and a few melodic pieces from the album "Yoshimi," both a challenge to sing: the symphonic "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" and the popular "Do You Realize?," the perfect mix of love and terror.

They signed off with the throbbing "Always There, In Our Hearts," the place where post-punk meets Pink Floyd.

Other than traveling in similar indie circles, The Black Keys are a whole different trip with their sonic garage blues -- the last thing you'd think would be popular in 2013. …

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