by Jerri Starbuck
Les Claypool (Primus) and Sean Lennon (John Lennon’s son) teamed up to create Claypool Lennon Delirium. It’s an unlikely pairing you might think. But it works incredibly well and makes perfect sense. Lennon coming from more indie rock, Claypool from hard rock, the two have been working on their sound since first recording in 2016 and seem very comfortable. What many might not realize is that they’ve already had two songs on the Billboard 100 list. The show itself might be one of the best of the year.
The fact that the show was at an iconic intimate indie-label club (Emo’s) proves how cool this show really was and how special it was for fans who were there.
The show matches the theme and title of the new album South of Reality as it’s trippy, weird, and the definition of alternative. Their website says it perfectly. “The epic sophomore album might be just the antidote this sick world needs. Music so potent it could repel an asteroid impact from space. These seasoned warriors of psychedelia have crafted timeless songs that may as well be chiseled in stone”.
Jim James joined them earlier on the summer tour and called the Delirium “the healing power of rock ‘n’ roll”. This healing is much needed today in our crazy world of altered reality and politics and also reflects our time in history in the 60’s and 70’s too when music played a critical role in society (actually, it always does). The artwork and background visuals are amazing and just add to the psychedelic acid-trip nature of the music.
The whole band is dressed in black and each wears a different cool hat that adds to the Alice in Wonderland feel. The two stand far apart on stage and banter like brothers and best friends. Les endearingly calls Sean ‘Shiner’ in part because of his very cool mirror-plated guitar and calls out his ‘guns’ – his muscles.
We love the dichotomy of the dark moody music and show, and the comedy they bring in between songs to lighten things up.
Claypool is so tall, funnier than expected and says “I’m high on peyote and mescaline”. But are they? They joke about how cool Austin is because they saw the new Tarantino film last night (“Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”) and found some peyote during the movie. Some people in the crowd were trippin’ so maybe they got some of the good stuff too.
Then they go into this silly bit about “beware of bottomless popcorn- that’s what did it to me”, then Sean jokes that ‘Bottomless Popcorn would be my rapper name’. Although we think it would be more popular to add a ‘Lil’ in front of it.
It’s over 100 degrees in Austin and luckily the show is inside. Lennon says ‘you probably just have to throw corn on the sidewalk and it will pop it’s so hot in Austin!’
The setlist included old and new songs, mostly their own including popular “Easily Charmed by Fools” with a few cool rock covers mixed in from King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Who, Primus, and The Beatles. All perfect choices as they fit nicely into the Delirium hallucinogenic mind-meld theme.
The song titles and lyrics are as bizarre as the music. “She likes to swipe right for pretty boys on Tinder” is hilarious. Many lyrics remind us of the goofiness and fun that The Beatles had with experimental/psychedelic songs (perhaps influenced by acid) like “Yellow Submarine” and most of it’s songs, “Magical Mystery Tour”, “It’s All Too Much”, “The Walrus” and even “Sgt. Pepper”.
Although we were trying hard not to compare Delirium to The Beatles we do see some similarities- mostly in the creativity of pushing music boundaries and being silly.
View the show photo gallery on Austin 101 Magazine.
Cricket and the Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)
Cricket and the Genie (Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket)
Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons – Movement II Too the Moon
South of Reality
The Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson cover)
Easily Charmed by Fools
Breath of a Salesman
Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Part 1, Ask Your Doctor – Part 2, Psyde Effects
(“How Many More Times” tease in intro)
Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles cover)
Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd cover)
Boris the Spider (The Who cover)
Southbound Pachyderm (Primus cover)