Victorious Festival: Review - The Flaming Lips

The Rampant at the ramparts of Portchester Castle in 1967. L to r: Peter Richardson (aka Ritchie Peters  they turned his name around) vocals, Ron Hughes guitar, Ken Hughes (his brother) drums, Don Golding bass, Mick Cooper Hammond organ.

NOSTALGIA: Still Rampant after all these years – the band that just keep giving...

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For a headliner, launching your set with a slowburning album track from a release that came out 20 years ago might not seem to be the best way to grab the attention of an audience that has been battered by the elements for a substantial part of the day.

But most bands are not The Flaming Lips. Frontman Wayne Coyne is flanked by a pair of 10ft-tall inflatable bugmen and a giant sun wobbles around behind him. As The Abandoned Hospital Ship rises to its peak, the ticker tape explodes and the crowd is already won over.

And with the the weather on their sides – the rain that has dogged most of the day has finally cleared – the party mood is definitely back.

The seven-piece band are extremely tight – allowing their ringleader to run amok at the front – whether it’s swinging a light, lasso-style round his head, or shooting confetti cannons into the crowd.

The Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Song sparks a mass singalong – its simplicity allowing even the most refreshed audience members to join in.

Multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd’s repeated cartoonishly squeaky exhortations for us to ‘C’mon Ports-mouth’ are met with laughter and cheers.

The main set finishes with A Spoonful Weighs a Ton from their critical hit The Soft Bulletin. At its end, the word ‘Love’ is repeated on a loop as it pulses on the giant screen at the back of the stage. Coyne stands alone, basking in the moment. They’re hardly off stage before coming straight back for the sole encore of Do You Realize??, perhaps the most uplifting and beautiful song ever about everybody dying.

Full marks, too, for the incredible LED light show – dozens of strips of lights that hang from the rafters and pulse throughout to incredible effect.

The Oklahomans know how to put on a show. In lesser hands it would be style over substance, but the band also have the songs to back up the visuals.

While they may be short on recognisable big hits for the casual observer, judging by the conversations I heard around me in the crowd at the end of the set, they made a lot of new friends on Saturday night.

Southsea Common has not seen anything like it before.