Backwash

Is he some kind of hypnotist? The Flaming Lipsí Wayne Coyne raises heck with Beck.

If the world can be regarded as a delicate balance between good and evil -- as suggested by Yoshimi's battle with the destructive robots -- then Coyne is most certainly a good guy, widely regarded as the force behind the Lips' ascension from shitty bar band to damn-near-visionary ensemble. The night before the Paramount performance, he spent more than three hours talking with fans, signing autographs and posing for photos (with fans, dogs and a child named after him) at Twist & Shout. During the Lips' set, he praised the Paramount and the crowd, sang "Happy Birthday" to a girl in the second row, swung a light like a lasso and sang his nasal-twinged throat out. Later, during the Lips' set with Beck -- which moved through the latter's catalogue and confirmed that he is an ambidextrous, audience-friendly, ridiculously talented little elf, as capable of wailing on a harmonium as breakdancing something fierce -- Coyne conceded the spotlight but remained an enigmatic presence, playing keyboards and electric guitar and shadowing Beck with a pair of hand-held lights. (Introducing the band in around-the-room format, Beck identified Drozd, Ivins and Coyne. "That's Wayne on the flashlights," he said, in his SoCal ice-cream-man deadpan.)

After the Lips' set, Coyne came down to the dressing area and hugged the herd. Sweaty, with confetti stuck in each bend of his curly hair, he thanked all of the animals for making the night special, seemingly unaware that he's the one who really deserved that credit.

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