The Flaming Lips joined a roster of high-profile bands to honor Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson at the March tribute concert Brian Fest. In the above video – the first installment of a two-part documentary – the Lips deliver a spacey, slowed-down version of “Good Vibrations” interspersed with interviews from various artists at the show (via Flood).
Frontman Wayne Coyne, wearing a shirt scrawled with “WE LOVE YOU BRIAN,” stretches out his vocal range from a deep rumble to a cosmic falsetto, backed by stark synth chords, thick bass and a re-creation of Wilson’s iconic theremin tone. “It’s hard to believe that a guy that young in that era was writing music that sophisticated that was called ‘pop,'” says Lips multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd.
“We all grew up in Southern California, driving to the beach,” says Taylor Rice of Local Natives. “And it’s such an obvious image because it’s so powerful.”
Al Jardine, Wilson’s Beach Boys bandmate, summarizes the songwriter’s unique legacy: “They’re great songs: brilliantly composed, and, simply, they’re written from another level,” he says. “The synthesis of these voices — when you think about it, the quality, it was pretty effortless, which is pretty unreal when I think about it.”
Brian Fest, held March 30th at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre, also featured appearances from Norah Jones, the Killers’ Brandon Flowers, Wilson Phillips, Devendra Banhart, M. Ward, Boz Scaggs, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, Doyle Bramhall II and Joy Williams, among others.