January 2, 2019 The Claypool Lennon Delirium Mesmerize The Observatory Santa Ana, CA 12-29-18
The bridge between fantasy and reality is full of whatever those who walk across it has created for themselves. Depending on which direction you are travelling, the excitement along the journey can surprise, uplift, and surpass the mood upon destination.
These thoughts in mind, in the world of Alternative Psychedelic Rock music, just over two years ago, an absolutely wildly astonishing collaborative was born in The Claypool Lennon Delirium. What exactly is The Claypool Lennon Delirium? As indicated by the title, the duo features Primus Vocalist/Bassist Les Claypool along with Vocalist/Guitarist Sean Lennon, known for his solo work, as well in The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, and of course, he is the son of the iconic John Lennon. A project which came together a few years back, giving listeners their debut album, Monolith of Phobos, in the summer of 2016, on Saturday, December 29, 2018, The Claypool Lennon Delirium made its way to Santa Ana’s The Observatory on their tour in support of their newest album, South Of Reality, due out for release on February 22, 2019 through ATO Records.
Kicking off the run at The Observatory in San Diego on December 28th, the stop at Santa Ana’s The Observatory featured local band L.A.Witch as the opening act. Originating some time around 2011, they are comprised of a trio of females playing their brand of Proto Punk mixed with a touch of Stoner Rock, Doom, and Psychedelics. Starting at around 9 PM, these ladies soothed the crowd with their mesmerizing tones.
As mentioned, a trio, L.A. Witch is composed of Vocalist/Guitarist Sade Sanchez, Bassist Irita Pai, and Drummer Ellie English. Bringing forth a very modernized take on an older sound that raves on their collaborative abilities forming a collective coven of works, picture Mazzy Star singing with Juliette Lewis in the desert scene of the 1994 film Natural Born Killers where Woody Harrelson’s Mickey Knox character has just been bitten by the rattlesnake. The best way to sum up the vibes at an L.A. Witch show, the new tunes they played seemed to be pushing them in an even more dominating Proto Punk and New Wave direction, which seems a positively deeming choice.
Recently finishing a European tour with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, along with a few months ago opening for The Distillers, L.A. Witch are certainly headed in the right direction as they do their part in helping the larger modern movement in both the Punk and Rock scenes. The future looks bright for them, which means it is time to take a higher command of the audience and cast their most powerful spell!
With the mood set, at around 10:15 PM, the rounded tiers of The Observatory filled up as the main head trip began with The Claypool Lennon Delirium opening their set with the backing track version of the instrumental “There’s No Underwear in Space,” the final track on Monolith Of Phobos. A dazzling beginning, As Les Claypool and Sean Lennon warped the stage with their talents, wit, creative energy, along with extended skill, the crowd immediately became immersed in the sea of beautiful madness.
As a live act, they add a drummer and keyboardist, both highly talented musicians. Enhancing the performance, the essence of the night came from the incredible dynamic and perfect melding of the two creative frontmen’s souls. Playing around fourteen songs in total, they incorporated five very interesting covers including the ever popular Who cut “Boris The Spider,” “The Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson, and The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The renditions were clearly their own fantasy enhanced takes that bled new creativity into the audience’s psyche.
They also played the title-track off of South Of Reality along with some really unique pairings of a couple other newer lengthy pieces such as “Blood And Rockets: Movements I and II,” and “Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Part I and II.” Balancing just the right amount of instrumental with back and forth guitar and bass all while Claypool spun around playing his solos in his signature hat. In fact, the band was full of odd hat styles, with exception of Money Mark.
Adding to it all, Claypool and Lennon’s singing in unison was captivatingly phenomenal. Also taking the spotlight singing leads, among playing gems off their debut album, including “Boomerang Baby” and “Mr. Wright,” they encored with notable Primus song “Southbound Pachyderm” with Lennon’s parts on guitar proving a very interesting difference versus Primus’ Guitarist Larry LaLonde. Not better or worse in comparison, but more so a rather fascinating exchange between Claypool and Lennon. In Primus, it is the guitars that take a softer seat most of the time, despite the solos, where both bass and guitar take the spotlight. With The Claypool Lennon Delirium, there is a more even dominated exchange from bass into guitar as they bounce their energies off one another in an awe-inspiring fashion.
Sometimes dubbed a ‘supergroup,’ truthfully, that is just not the correct term for The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Why? Because they are one of a kind conjuring a blending of sounds that meld Classic Rock with that undeniable Primus bass in a purely psychedelic way that is more exciting and surreal than most of the modern Psychedelic Rock bands out there today. Sean Lennon’s vocals are very reminiscent of his father’s, which creates a mystifying and eerie vibe that is topped off with Claypool’s quirky witty tones creates a perfectly weird combination of elements. In metaphorical terms, this band is arguably the best acid trip anyone has ever had without drug enhancement. Furthermore, their stage banter between songs is equally as comically weird and pleasure with, at one point, Claypool calling himself Eddie Van Halen before Lennon joking about the mescaline kicking in.
Long songs, and longer stories short, the sheer energy/vibes of the impenetrable duo that is The Claypool Lennon Delirium is everything exceptional about Psychedelic Rock music today. These two are a perfect musical duo matching weird for weird and contrasting it in the most fantastical way. As a result, there is no other alternative but to spread this drug into the masses in hope they will be headlining festivals such as Desert Daze and Psycho Festival in the near future. Speaking of more live shows, the band rang in 2019 on New Year’s Eve at The Fillmore in San Francisco, and they will continue touring North America come April, so be sure not to miss out on an experience worth its weight in gold.
Photo credit: Karina Diane Concert Photography