Monday, June 16, 2008

City Stages kicked the BamaJam blues

My faith in Alabama music festivals has been restored after going to City Stages last night. This was my first visit to this Birmingham favorite, and it was great. While the line-up for the weekend as a whole was less than stellar (I guess that's what happens when it's on the same weekend as Bonnaroo), City Stages ended the festival on Sunday with a blast ... literally. 

I'm a newbie when it comes to the Flaming Lips, but I've heard stories about the crazy antics at their shows.  More theatric than music, the Flaming Lips had a ball (once again, literally) with blasts of orange confetti, huge orange and yellow beach balls, dancing aliens onstage and frontman Wayne Coyne crowd surfing inside a giant bubble. The huge screen behind them flashed psychedelically with colors and random video of cars and hitchhikers. It's easy to see why they're listed as one of the top 50 bands to see live. Here's a (long) video that will give you an idea of just what they are about.

While the Flaming Lips was an awesome sight to behold, the aural pleasure came from the reggae, funk, rock, jazz, folk, hip hop tunes of Michael Franti and Spearhead. This group from San Francisco knows how to pump up a crowd for hours of hippie dancing. You can check out some of their music here

This festival is on my list to attend next year and years to come.