The day before their main set, which featured songs from their newest album, The Flaming Lips did a surprise set in which they decided to play Yoshimi in its entirety–something they had never done before.
Indeed, there are a few songs from the album that they say they have never played live before.
They have an hour to do the deed. But, Wayne being Wayne, he can’t stop talking between songs long enough for them to actually complete the album and they are left without playing the final track. (I haven’t heard of that happening to other bands).
The set sounds pretty good. It is quite different from the album in that the live unit plays all kinds of interesting sounds effects and updated keyboards and whatnot, it alters things in small and large ways although it doesn’t make it sound completely unlike the album.
Wayne’s voice is not as great as it used to be and he can’t hit all the notes anymore, which is a little disappointing (and may explain why the newer albums are not quite so soaring). But they are clearly enjoying themselves, as is the audience.
The only bad thing about this set (you can stream the video at NPR) is that the volume is very low. It sounds good, but is a little too quiet to be fully enjoyable. And, of course, you don’t get to hear “Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia).” Although you do get to hear how they came up with the title “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell.”
[READ: July 11, 2013] “Blood Spore”
This was a Folio in the center of the July issue of Harper’s. The Folio is a lengthy article that’s printed on a different type of paper. The Harper’s Folios are usually quite good. And so was this one.
This essay is about the life and death of Steven Pollock. Pollock was into mushroom. Really into them. He believed that they held cures to many different ailments and he set about trying to prove it. He had a fully functioning lab and he did extensive tests on the different types of mushrooms and spores that he collected. (Some of the tests simply included ingesting them, but he also used scientific methods). He ordered manure and other kinds of bases and then he set about growing and testing different genus of mushrooms.
True, he was also interested in their psychedelic powers, but he believed they could do much more.
In order to make money he sold paraphernalia in High Times. He was very successful (his company name and color ad in the magazine was quite a hit and he made an astonishing amount on the quasi legal market). Most of his money went back into research. He believed that when he made $2 million, he could get a proper lab.
The whole article was really interesting—seeing what Pollock did, seeing how some of the mushrooms he cultivated lasted throughout the years and how he managed to get some to spread (by getting spores in various materials in time for a Hurricane to blow them all across the South). Pollock’s personal favorite mushroom, which he described as being the most amazing trip he’d had, was on the verge of extinction. And he died believing that it was no more. Fortunately somehow made it to Amsterdam where now it is a very common (and very popular) strain of the fungus.
Shame he was murdered under mysterious circumstances and the author began researching this article because he received a tape that someone claimed showed who was guilty of his death.
That’s right, the fascinating story of Pollock had an even more fascinating end. His death seemed like an obvious drug-based murder–at the time of his death, he was selling prescriptions from his house and he was killed after hours. And yet, people began seeing a few questionable details. Pollock never locked his door, but it was bolted, etc.
The tape raised suspicions that the police killed him (because he was doing quasi legal things and causing a lot of trouble). Of course, no one wanted to come forth with the evidence for fear of police repercussions (the tape was evidently stolen (along with the tape player it was in) from a police car. Whatever the case his death caused a quick cessation to the study of his mushrooms, especially when the police burned everything they found.
As you begin the article you think that the author is chasing crazies–people claiming that mushrooms can cure-all kinds of ailments. And yet by the end, between Pollock and some of his successors, mushrooms begin to see like a very beneficial item. Something that will never be legalized because there is no real profit in it.
I was absolutely absorbed this investigation. And I am genuinely bummed that Pollock’s life was cut short before he could finish what he was working on.