Teenage Fanclub/ Flaming Lips Astoria, London

'The Flaming Lips are not a hard band to fall in love with, but it would be murder getting them to tidy their bedrooms'
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The Independent Online
The Flaming Lips began their set by soundchecking. Guitars murmured and mumbled, a snare drum coughed. You waited for someone to take their shoes off, put marshmallows on the fire and unfold a newspaper. Leisurely isn't the word. Comatose is.

They got started, eventually. Not that you'd have noticed. Those guitars kept murmuring and mumbling, and the drums spluttered some more. They're not a hard band to fall in love with. Most of their songs evolve into melancholy singalongs. But I bet it would be murder getting them to tidy their bedrooms - they're scruffy all over, untucked and askew. There's no gloss on the Lips: Wayne, the singer and guitarist, has a yearning voice which suggests a child trapped in a man's body, and a mop of hair which suggests a man trapped under a hunk of seaweed. Only Michael, the bass player in crisp black suit, tie and shades, bothered to dress up. He looked as if he'd come to do the band's accounts, had a marshmallow and decided to stay.

It's possible: you don't even notice them creeping up on you. But when you've heard them once, the Lips stick. Titles on their freewheeling album Clouds Taste Metallic are rambling and indulgent (tonight's highlight was "Guy Who Got a Headache and Accidentally Saves the World"). However, the songs surrender arch, angular melodies which sound dazzling coming from a bunch of somnambulists who have only just mustered the energy to plug their instruments in. The secret of their success? No alarm clocks. "People who sleep in are generally much happier," Wayne assures us as he picks out the opening to the lolling "Bad Days". This would explain the blissful smile on his face.

What can there be left to say about Teenage Fanclub? It was the same old routine - they trundled on stage, performed some sumptuous guitar pop in a manner that was supple and efficient, yet dense and beefy. Then they sloped off again, leaving us light of head and heart. As usual, Norman's chit-chat was almost as gorgeous as the music. "Thanks for coming out," he purred. "I know TV's really good on a Sunday. You've got Pie in the Sky, A Touch of Frost..." I'll take "Sparky's Dream" and "Going Places" any day.

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