Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Claypool Lennon Delirium --- A concert Review

This past Sunday I saw The Claypool Lennon Delirium in concert at the Pageant in St. Louis.    I am not going to lie, the only reason I wanted to see the concert was because I wanted to see one of John Lennon's children in person.      And while I am sure some music purists out there think that is a terrible thing, I am willing to bet that I am not the only person that goes to see Sean Lennon for the exact same reason.       I didn't have any idea who Les Claypool (who is perform along with Sean) actually was by name.     Come to find out, he is the bass player for the 1990's band, Primus.   My college roommate loved Primus and I became familiar and enjoy the music with the funky bass lines.

As my mom and I stood in line to enter the Pageant, it became apparent that this wasn't a "Beatles" crowd.   Most of the people in the line were 30-something guys with bushy beards, hair in a bun, glasses and a Primus t-shirt.    And during the concert, Les Claypool got a LOT more cheers than Sean Lennon.    I don't know why I found that surprising, but it was somewhat unexpected.

The opening act was a group called Chicano Batman.   There are a Latino alternative band that has a lot of energy and they are very animated.     They sang a lot of their songs in Spanish but there were also some in English.    While they put on a great performance, I personally didn't care for their style of music.

Then it was time for the Claypool Lennon Delrium.    Sean Lennon came out first.  He was wearing a black Sgt. Pepper style hat, a black shirt with a vest and dark pants.    His hair is long and he has a full beard and wears glasses.       Les Claypool came out next and everyone went wild.  

Before I went to the concert, I had read that they played "psychedelic" music.   I am not sure if that is really what I would consider it to be, but it was a different style of music.     It was sort of funky with the strong bass line.    Sean was an amazing lead guitar player.    Both Sean and Les sang, but I would say that Sean did more of the singing than Les.    There were times when Sean's voice sounded a lot like his Dad, and then at other times it didn't.        I think this is because they would put different filters on the microphones to get a variety of vocal sounds.   I should also mention that besides Sean and Les, there was also a keyboard and drum player.

As a devoted fan of John Lennon, it was extremely awesome to see the child of John and Yoko in person.    There were times, especially when Sean was standing back in the shadows with his head down, that you would have swore it was John Lennon up there on stage during the concert at Lyceum in 1969.   Sean showed a lot of talent in not just singing and guitar playing but in his stage presence and how he handled himself on stage.   He seemed comfortable up there and enjoyed joking back and forth with Les during the show.

A lot of the songs had really long instrumentals in the middle of them.    I know a LOT of people love this, but at any concert where there are long instrumentals, I tend to zone out.    I was really enjoying one of their songs called "Oxycontin girl"  but then found myself spacing out and not paying attention during the extended instrumental.   I enjoyed it for a while, but those things just don't interest me.   Jam sessions are fun to participate in, but I just don't want to listen to them.     I did especially enjoyed the performance of Sean's song "Xanadu," because I had heard it before.

However, the highlight of the entire concert came at the end of the set, before the encore.    They performed the Beatles song, "Tomorrow Never Knows."    I have heard this song performed by countless bands over the years and no one ever does it justice.    But let me say that the Claypool Lennon Delirium nailed it.    It was amazing to witness this performance with Sean Lennon singing his Dad's part.    And while we know the song is 50 years old, it sounded fresh and fit in seamlessly into the rest of the set.     I couldn't help but think that John Lennon was smiling down on his son saying, "You did good with my song....I am proud of you son."

I enjoyed the concert, but I am not going to purchase the CD of the Claypool Delirium.   It was fun to hear live, but just doesn't interest me enough to listen to outside of the concert.    Should you go check them out?  Sure!   If for no other reason than to hear "Tomorrow Never Knows."  

*As always all photos were taken by Sara Schmidt and copyright belongs to Sara.  Please ask before using any photos (although who would want to---I am terrible at concert photography!)


  1. I will be seeing them in Los Angeles at the end of July. I watched their live stream from Bonnaroo and was impressed with Sean's guitar playing - those 4 guys make a mighty big sound.

  2. He is the true double of his father! ;)

  3. It's strange that Sean is now older than his dad ever was

    1. I had that thought during the show---that Sean is currently 6 months older than his father ever got to be. Sort of a surreal thing, isn't it?

  4. glad you were able to see him - nice review

  5. I saw them in KC on Tuesday and really enjoyed the show. The energy was high. I enjoyed the extended songs. It gave Sean freedom to stretch. The highlight of Tomorrow Never Knows gave me goosebumps.


  7. I watched different youtubes of this tour and I didn't like how Sean Lennon was talked down to and disrespected on stage by Les Claypool in every one of them that I viewed. Les displays a theatrical presence and is great on bass and other instruments. However, Sean has an excellent voice and can perform a variety of music, and with artists of many other styles. In addition, he sings in foreign languages and has actually helped in writing soundtracks for movies. He's inherited the genius genes of his Father as well as the talents of both his parents. He's an excellent singer and pianist and does pretty well on guitar too. Les should have respected him for his accomplishments. He shouldn't have put him down, and he shouldn't have insisted on holding Sean back and stealing the limelight for himself all the time. Les singing voice isn't that good except for when he added the theatrical to it. So he should have let Sean do most of the singing. I had to stop watching the Ohio tour youtube because he kept pointing out any mistakes that Sean made to the public, and the way he did it was borderline abusive. The very idea of humiliating a fellow performer onstage is just something no musician ever does. A professional just doesn't do that. I get the feeling that Primus people came because Primus was more famous on the rock scene than Sean has been. The reasons for that is that too many people expect Sean to be his Father and he's not. Another reason is because Sean has done a variety of music, which shows much more skill. But a person also receives a different type of following when they do that. So it was no surprise to me that Les got more attention. I saw Sean really shine on the Brooklyn youtube of The Ghost of the Sabre Tooth Tiger. That was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the music that he, his girlfriend, and band perform together. They were truly amazing and in that performance, Sean really, really shone bright like a diamond. I enjoy Sean's music a lot and I think he deserves a lot more credit than he's been receiving from everyone. To be honest, I didn't willfully ever listen to Primus, and I love rock. Sorry Les. Even when something was seen in print or seen on video interviews with Les and Sean, Les was putting Sean down. He said something about Sean acting gay in front of interviewers and then said that Sean stayed with him and drank and ate up his food and drink while they were writing and putting their music together. I thought that was really a terrible thing to say. If I would have been Sean, I would have been extremely insulted, and would have stopped writing and/or performing with that dude as soon as things like that got started. As versatile as Sean is, he could have found any other person to perform with and gotten much further ahead in his own career. Plus some of the music Les chose to perform, I think Sean should have just said no to instead of going along with it, but that's just me. Sean talked Les up all the time even saying that Les had been one of his heroes as a kid. Sorry, but Les wasn't worthy of that because of the way he acted.