Bass grandmaster Les Claypool and multi-instrumental singer, songwriter Sean Lennon (son of John and Yoko) make a great team. That is, a team who make serious psychedelic music.
Overtaking Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall as The Claypool Lennon Delirium, the sold-out show boasted Beatles and Primus fans alike, as well as wafts of medicinal smoke for good measure.
Expectations were high, with the stage decorated in otherworldly sci-fi panels by artist Hisaki Yasuda, depicting anthropomorphic insects gazing upon orbiting planets. Similarly, the vast majority of attendees were also about to embark on terrestrial quests, albeit aural ones.
Stepping out in tandem, Lennon, bearded and bespectacled, brandished his chrome guitar like a cosmic weapon. As for Claypool, his steampunk attire played splendidly off the underlying spacey ambiance of their South of Reality tour.
Tipping their caps to the crowd, the band launched into their set-list without hesitation. Early on, an inspired cover of Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine oscillated beautifully; the Syd Barret-era slice of psychedelia unnervingly setting the mood for things to come.
Unfinished with their tour of British art-rock, the duo also delivered a hefty version of King Crimson’s The Court of the Crimson King. The vintage anthem, awash in organ and heavy guitar, remained a terrific piece to showcase the band’s musicianship.
Elsewhere, comedic banter, led by Claypool, helped enliven the evening’s palatable moodiness. This was particularly evident on the funky Mr. Wright, a song in which its main character is habitually “creeping through the night.”
However, saving the best for last, the evening was thunderously capped off by a jaw-dropping appearance from Rush’s Geddy Lee. Between the dueling bass guitars of he and Les Claypool, a spine-tingling rendition of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows was spearhead by Sean Lennon.
Uncannily sounding like his legendary father, the initial crowd bedlam soon cooled into calm as the surreal moment took hold. Given its immensity, for the many patrons in attendance, it may very well go down as the best live music experience of their lives.