What the fuck did I just listen to?
Those might be the first words out of your mouth after an initial listen to rock’s latest merger of brain benders, plucked from the ever-growing pool of psychedelia experimentalists.
It’s no wonder your cerebellum has a tough time handling the neural confusion, considering this two-headed monster sports the faces of Primus’ exceedingly superb, frenetic-fingered bassist Les Claypool and rock’s most famous son turned hallucinatory guru Sean Lennon. It’s a combo that most probably wouldn’t have initially thought to merge—at least not until you take a closer listen to Lennon’s recent work (GOASTT) and then dig deep within Primus’ monstrous catalog of esotericism. Turns out the two are perfect for each other. Both are insanely weird and insanely talented. (And lest we even mention how eerily similar the two look with their rounded spectacles and wispy facial hair.)
Equal parts asininity and science fiction, The Claypool Lennon Delirium's recent release, Monolith of Phobos, captures the unrelenting absurdity of musical banter told through the collaboration of these two doppelgangers’ minds. The result is a beautifully twisted undertaking of cheeky peeks deep into the vortex of quirky creativity.
But those with a keen ear won’t find their experimentation too unfamiliar or outrageous. With heavy remnants of Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band and/or the Bonzo Dog Band, Claypool and Lennon simply updated their pilot licenses to fly the magic carpet into the digitized world. This word is no longer filled with the expressions of “free love” and “tune in, turn on, drop out,” but immersed in augmented reality and oxycontin overdoses. Don’t let that description scare you, though: It’s the equivalent of taking two doses up front instead of waiting for the first to settle in before you decide if you should plop another tab.
Categorize it as you will—neo-psychedelia, avante garde or just plain strange—The Claypool Lennon Delirium may come off as an acquired taste, but that shouldn’t be too off-putting. Primus has always had its certain breed of followers, and they are sure to enjoy Claypool’s most recent endeavour. But the addition of Lennon’s solid understanding of musical composition and his well-tempered guitar work lead these two established musicians to care less about how they are perceived and more about what kind of depths of fun they can achieve on stage together. That alone should be reason enough to go to their show at the Roseland Theater on Saturday, July 23.
Should the uneasiness of jumping directly into such delirium make you a bit hesitant, we recommend getting there early for the spacious, droning melodies of opener JJUUJJUU. With live looping vocals, telepathic vibrations and entrancing primordial grooves, frontman Phil Pirrone puts the slow spin on your mind, prepping it for astral dizziness. Comprised of a revolving cast of musicians, JJUUJJUU sonically blossoms their self-described “danceable, heavy metal trance kraut tribal rock” into palpable psychedelic rock capable of simultaneously deconstructing your mind while lubing it for visionary things to come.