Review: Flipper at Lion's Lair, 3/29/12
Tom Murphy Flipper last night at Lion's Lair
FLIPPER @ LION'S LAIR | 3/29/12
"How do you get a hippie girl pregant?" asked Rachel Thoele before Flipper even played a note. "Cum on her Birkenstocks, and let the flies do the rest." Bruce Loose had a chuckle and asked her if she had any more jokes. She did. "What do nine out of ten people enjoy?" No one seemed to have an answer. "Gang rape." Then Loose joked, "Sometimes that's ten out of ten." As Loose later remarked, "This is typical Flipper."
There was some conscious -- or perhaps unconscious meeting -- of frequencies between Ted Falconi's guitar and Rachel Thoele's bass when Flipper kicked into its opening number, "The Lights, The Sound, The Rhythm, The Noise." It sounded like they were giving voice to something deep in the earth. All the while Stephen DePace's drums seemed to dance on top of the quick-flowing lava pace and burning sound of the two stringed instruments.
Of course Bruce Loose had an expression half-possessed, half-amused the entire time except when he staked the stage looking heavy but not being able to resist cracking a smile at the absurdity of how he would look to himself roaming about like that. And still, Flipper's music isn't funny. Unless a natural disaster has comedic value, which sometimes it does in a cosmic sense of things.
Before playing "Transparent Blame" from the band's most recent album of new material, Love, Thoele told us it was funny that the song was written by Krist Novoselic. Loose missed part of what she said because of all the noise, but they both decided it was, indeed, funny in the end. During "(You Saw Me) Shine," Chris Ritter from the opening band Crash turned the stage lights toward Loose to get better lightning for pictures, but Loose kept turning them back, and he even changed the lyrics in one part to "Turn the lights/I don't want you photographing me" while pointing at Ritter with a smile and without missing a beat. Loose is nothing, if not a professional.
Tom Murphy Flipper at Lion's Lair
In the opening of "Life Is Cheap," DePace hit a particularly strong salvo of percussion that gave the song some of its incredible forward momentum. One of the moments of greatest ferocity came with the performance of "Sacrifice" and between moments of anguished utterances of lyrics, Loose gestured with what seemed to be well-practiced gestures to carry him through the choruses.
Afterward, Loose took up the bass and Thoele took on the lead vocals position. She announced she had only ever sang the song twice in public before tonight. And, of course, it was "Sex Bomb." Thoele sang/screamed/yelled the lyrics with a distorted gusto to the point of leaning so completely forward at times that her head reached the ground.
The crowd wasn't letting Flipper go, so Loose started speaking the words to "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." Eventually DePace went back to the drums, and Thoele played a simple bass line, and it started to almost sound like a rap song. Falconi stood on his side of the stage and laughed at Loose's antics when the guy started to, intentionally or not, flub the lyrics here and there. But this just all added to the ridiculousness of the moment.