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Yeah Yeah Yeahs & Flaming Lips Ring In Summer Early At GoogaMooga

'Pretty Much The Perfect Night For An Outdoor Show'
(credit: Marla Diamond)

(credit: Marla Diamond)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne probably described Friday night’s kick-off of the three-day GoogaMooga festival best.

It was not too cold, not too hot, pretty much the perfect night for an outdoor show. It was almost as if you were back in your mother’s womb.

Hidden away in a remote field of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park (to find the location, it was best to just follow the music, since signage was spare), Coyne and the rest of his band tried to amp up the crowd. Taking the stage at the not especially rock ‘n’ roll friendly time of 6:15, Coyne had his work cut out for him. But ever the artiste, he certainly made the best of it.

The Lips’ stage set-up included a pedestal for Coyne that was wrapped in clear hoses–the ones you buy at your local hardware store—along with giant silver orbs. The intertwining of the two made it look like the set of a low budget sci-fi movie. And Coyne’s shiny green spaceman suit certainly kept with the theme.

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There were no confetti shooters, human hamster balls or Furries, which were previous staples of the Flaming Lips live show. But, there was some hair pulling and a fake baby, which Coyne cradled throughout a number of song.

The band showed off their latest album, The Terror, performing opening track “Look The Sun Is Rising,” “You Lust” with special guest Sarah Barthel from Phantogram and “Try To Explain,” which Coyne thought was the perfect song to help people get over the long lines at the BBQ area. They also threw in a spot-on cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

Coyne kept the relatively stiff crowd alive waxing poetic about the planes flying overhead. Telling those in attendance that they should wave to the passengers in the air to let them know how much fun they were having.

For their encore of “Do You Realize?” the fake baby reappeared. Coyne sang to the little guy, cradling him in his arms as he asked him, “Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?,” almost as if he was singing the baby a slightly deranged lullaby.

When the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit the stage an hour later there were no babies, but there was a choir. For the song “Sacrilege” off their latest album, Mosquito, the Broadway Inspirational Voices helped Karen O–wearing a custom designed spangly suit from Christian Joy, complete with a Pope-inspired headdress–get spiritual.

New songs like “Subway,” with it’s chugging beat, “Mosquito,” “These Paths,” and the murder ballad “Under The Earth,” were given an extra kick thanks to Karen O’s onstage antics, which included a microphone swallowing trick that had the frontwoman holding the mic without the use of her hands, just her (apparently) very strong jaw.

Karen O’s voice seemed to change with every era of the band. For “Down Boy” off the 2007 EP Is Is, Karen kept things sweet until breaking into the punkier shout-filled chorus. And on the poppier “Soft Shock” off 2007’s It’s Blitz, she stayed soft and pretty, which showed off a more demure side of the usually high energy frontwoman.

Right before launching into “Zero,” Nick Zinner placed his guitar down on the ground to grab his camera and snap a few shots of the crowd, which were excited to hear anything off of It’s Blitz, the band’s most commercially popular album. As Karen O tried out a few fancy dance moves (she does one hell of a box step) a huge blow-up eyeball was ushered out into the crowd, keeping fans busy as they jumped around.

Karen later got the fans in on the action sending her mic out into the crowd for “Cheated Hearts,” off 2006’s Show Your Bones, to let the front row join in on the song’s “ooh oo ooh” refrain.

As Zinner played the first notes of “Maps” off 2003’s Fever To Tell, Karen O thanked her friends, family and ex-lovers. Most importantly though, she thanked her husband Barnaby Clay, giggling as she launched into the love song.

The crowd stayed pumped for “Heads Will Roll,” which had people maneuvering themselves, some even climbing up into the surrounding trees, to get a better look at Karen O, who was rushing around the stage like a kid who had a bit too much sugar.

When the sound cut out for the first part of “Date With The Night,” the band’s encore, she just kept screaming. Ending it all by beating her microphone on the ground like a whip to correspond with the last few notes of the song.

It’s nice to see that after over a decade of performing and four studio albums, Karen O hasn’t lost her spunk.

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