Long Distance: Flaming Lips set to sizzle at First Avenue

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The Flaming Lips will be playing the entire 'Clouds Taste Metallic' album for their third appearance at First Avenue in the last year.

Don't get too close to the stage.

That's protocol as usual for fans of the hard-to-define The Flaming Lips , who ignited major studio attention when they a.) notoriously nearly burned down an American Legion hall with their pyrotechnics display (that was years ago, but these guys don't show any signs of slowing down), b.) snagged three Grammys, out of six nominations, in the mid-2000s, and c.) always come up with the most bizarre album names in the history of the industry: "In a Priest Driven Ambulance," "Zaireeka," "Hit to Death in the Future Head," to name but a few.

It's tempting to compare the rock band to certain famous psych subculture bands of yore, but no sooner do you say, " Pink Floyd," than you realize comparing The Flaming Lips to anyone or anything is relatively pointless.

Sure, they captured this nation's attention with their 1993 hit " She Don't Use Jelly" (they're much more popular abroad, or so they say), but don't expect to hear that old tune when they scorch across First Avenue's stage on Feb. 24, fronted by Def Rain.

This time, or rather for the first time, they'll be singing, in its entirety, their 1995 " Clouds Taste Metallic" album. (Some call it their "forgotten" album, but once you hear " They Punctured My Yolk" I promise you'll never forget it.)


It's difficult to know what to predict, exactly. The Flaming Lips are known for their whacked-out stage shows (hence, the fire, but often mingled with props and costumes that would put Gumby and his friends to shame), as well as giving audience members wireless headphones so they can listen to simultaneous layers of music. They've even mingled live and recorded music, in some cases video installations featuring past members, to secure their spot as one of the most crazed subterranean bands to ever hit the boards.

Speaking of past band members, it's almost impossible to say who will be playing First Avenue guitarist Wayne Coynewill be there for sure, as he has been since the band's inception in 1983, lording over the ever-shifting group members like the father of one of the biggest dysfunctional psychedelic families ever (and that's saying something).

You have be 18 or older to get in, and tickets will set you back $50, but diehard fans will tell you it's more than worth it.

And, if you get all hot and bothered, just remember it might not be the music. Keep your eye on that stage.

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