The Claypool Lennon Delirium Tunes in, Turns on Fox Theater

The Claypool Lennon Delirium Tunes in, Turns on Fox Theater

May 25, 2017 Off By Denver Thread

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Photos by Michael McGrath, story by Amy McGrath

Amidst the cold rain and snow of the delirious springtime in Boulder, Les Claypool and Sean Lennon warmed the eager Fox Theater crowd with their own brand of deeply psychedelic jam rock. Following consecutive Primus gigs at The Fox and then Red Rocks, the Claypool Lennon Delirium had the opportunity to offer its hardcore Primus fanbase something on the trippier side.

The evening opened with a sweet talkbox solo by Lennon as the band launched into the deep, funky jams and Pink Floyd-inspired synth rock that epitomizes the sounds of the group’s recent release, Monolith of Phobos. Les Claypool was chatty and highly engaged with the audience, most of whom seemed to be Primus fans. Lennon stayed mostly out of the spotlight and came across more sedate, though there was nothing reserved about his gold holographic sequined jacket, or the sonic witchery he offered throughout the set. Even in this psych-rock setting, Claypool’s distinctive bass and vocals always sounds pretty much like Claypool’s distinctive bass and vocals. Lennon, on the other hand, has a wide range of guitar influences and sounds, and takes full advantage of a significant toybox of pedals and effects.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium play at The Fox Theater on May 18, 2017. Photo by Michael McGrath,

The band charged through music from Phobos, along with some deeply pleasing covers like “The Court of the Crimson King” before taking a 20 minute set break. The second set was darker and trippier, and found Claypool playing a bowed electric standup bass that he utilized to ultimate percussive effect. Lennon’s transfixing electric sitar rounded out the spaced-out sonic landscapes. Claypool told a long story about acquiring a John Entwistle bass guitar before the band tore through an energetic cover of the Who’s “Boris the Spider.”

The magical moment of the night was the closing tribute to Lennon’s spectacular rock and roll lineage with the lovely Beatles’ cover “Tomorrow Never Knows” encouraging the Fox Theater crowd to “turn off your mind relax and float down stream.” There is some kind of genetic memory in Sean’s voice that deeply evokes his father’s. The combination of that presence and a band of powerful musicians led by the charismatic and distinctive Claypool, the Delirium just works to close the coolness gap between being a “jam band” and creating deeply satisfying, heavy psych rock.