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At a tour stop in Austin last year, Lidell's improvisational skills were put to the test when his gear crashed a couple of songs into his set. After several attempts to revive the equipment, armed with only a single working microphone, he beckoned members of the audience to beatbox while he continued on with his full set, ultimately salvaging the performance. Lidell remembers the show vividly.
"They knew that I was genuinely in trouble," he says, "so everybody gathered together in this crazy charity effort, singing along and rocking in the audience. I was just trying to hold it all down as soon as I realized everything had gone wrong.
"I'll tell you, touring is a really good way of getting into an artist's psychology," he goes on. "You go through so many different energy states. I think the assumption is that when people meet you during one of these low-energy states, that's just who you are, that you're somehow always a bit of a retard."
But it's his versatility among creative states that has served Lidell so well over the course of his career. It's what has allowed him to be just as adaptable to playing through equipment failure as performing with an ad hoc TV-show band. In essence, it's also what makes him such a compelling performer.
Just don't tell him that.
"I think you believe your own hype, and you can also believe the criticism of others," he concludes. "You can be on a roll and develop a certain mentality. If you start to do well with a record and then you buy into the hype around it, and then you do another record and it gets slammed, you're rock-bottom and can't pick yourself up, because somehow the hype got in the way of the real shit."
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