The Claypool Lennon Delirium | 06.12.16

The Delirium’s 14-song set took the audience on a musical journey and into uncharted universes of sound, light, and magic.


The Pageant, St. Louis

The Claypool Lennon Delirium’s psychedelic machine touched down in St. Louis and delivered one of the most original and spectacular modern freak-outs to a capacity crowd of seasoned Beatles fans, hippies, Primus aficionados, and all-ages alternative acolytes.

For the uninitiated, The Claypool Lennon Delirium is the strange and potent collaboration between Primus mad hatter and bassist Les Claypool and Sean Lennon—son of John and Yoko, and a talented guitarist, vocalist, and performer in his own right. Their new album, Monolith of Phobos (ATO), is like a trip back to 1967–’68 swinging London with a dose of Haight-Ashbury thrown in. Claypool’s nasally vocals and bass prowess are still evident, but when combined with Lennon’s pop chops, inventive guitar playing, and powerful, lysergic vocals, it’s tough to imagine a more fruitful and inventive collaboration.

In addition to Claypool and Lennon, the band includes keyboardist Mark “Money Mark” Ramos Nishita and drummer Paul Baldi, who provided the bedrock moorings and appropriate sonic colors to the night’s proceedings. The Delirium took the stage to thunderous applause and palatable anticipation. The stage was decorated with large canvas backdrops featuring some kind of comic-book, space-age superwoman and distorted images of what appears to have been Les Claypool or a similiar Wavy Gravy character.

Claypool was clad in his usual odd costume and trademark bowler hat; Lennon looked like his bearded, bespectacled father from the late 1960s, the resemblance nothing short of amazing. Lennon donned a military-style hat, leather boots, and a smoking jacket that would have been at home on Portobello Road during the psychedelic era.

Because their album was just released and the project is so new, few in the audience knew what to expect. That was quickly forgotten as, after taking the stage to the intro music “There’s No Underwear in Space,” the band launched into “Cricket & the Genie (Movement 1).” There was something for everyone and their unique tastes. Whether it was the quirky, zany “Up on a Roof” from Claypool’s Frog Brigade, the title track “The Monolith of Phobos,” or their brilliant cover of early, Sid Barrett–era Pink Floyd classic space odessy, “Astronomy Domine,” the audience was enveloped in a cloud of hypnotic musical magic.

Other standout performances included their rendition of Lennon’s group Ghosts of a Saber Tooth Tiger’s “Xanadu.” and the night’s second-to-last-song of the night, the Beatles’ masterpiece “Tomorrow Never Knows”—the audience, young and old, were overwhelmed with Sean Lennon’s nearly-identical sounding vocals to his late, great father. The quartet came back to play a one-song encore and closed the amazing night with Primus’s “Southbound Pachyderm.”

It goes without saying that if you missed this show, you missed something that may never be repeated again. The show was a testament to the power, magic, and singular experience of seeing a live band of amazing musicians create a real, lasting experience that cannot be bottled, canned, or captured in any other form. | Doug Tull

Set list:

Intro (There’s No Underwear in Space)
Cricket & the Genie (Movement 1: The Delirium)
Cricket & the Genie (Movement II: Oratorio Di Cricket)
Breath of a Salesman
The Monolith of Phobos
Up on the Roof (from Les Claypool’s project Frog Brigade)
Bubbles Burst
Mr. Wright
Boomerang Baby
Xanadu (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger; a Sean Lennon project)
OxyContin Girl
Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd cover)
Captain Lariat
Tomorrow Never Knows (Beatles)
Southbound Pachyderm (Primus)

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