Levitation Live Shot: Flipper

More sociable than sociopathic, more celebratory than cynical

“Yo man, we had some kick-ass barbecue today,” drummer Steve DePace exclaimed in the middle of the happy chaos of Flipper’s set Saturday night outside at Hotel Vegas.

David Yow flipping out with Flipper (Photo by Jana Birchum)

While the San Franciscans’ co-founder bumped flexible rumpus beats behind timeless one-parters like “Sex Bomb” and “Life,” Ted Falconi merrily welded his six strings with airplane hangar ductility, filling the space of a symphony and burning the stems off the low-hanging fruit of repetition crunch rock. He held down the fort and ground the gears as bassist Rachel Thoele battened down the hatches and rolled thunder.

Abrasive and porous, the low tempo laps of Flipper left blank space for absurdist antics and tumbledown tomfoolery. Qualified to fill that space, David Yow scratched fans’ heads, monkeyed with stage lights, kissed strangers, tossed drained Modelos into Austin’s streets, and crowdsurfed with frequency.

“My parents died today,” he joked, a wolf crying wolf.

Not known for economy, the band’s crosseyed lyrics like “The lights have all gone out, but I saw you” achieved maximum impact after 20 or so reps. When they hit, they were heavy. In spite of his slapstick stage presence, Yow’s vocals delivered the brunt.

As beer collected around his feet, the rest of the band churned out sticks of deadpan, red-eyed butter. DePace traveled around the world in three Sabian cymbal crashes as Thoele crushed stones and Falconi took flight in aerial apex aerobatic inversions like a negative-image endocast of Bob Weir.

More sociable than sociopathic, more celebratory than cynical, the set invited revelry as it cackled across the wasteland. Lyrical modifications like “Life is not cheap” (previously “Life is cheap”) invited commune over confrontation. As such, the small crowd of people onstage during the hundreth bar of last number “Sex Bomb” didn’t seem to twist and bounce in the ironic reflection of the past, but rather in the blissful abandon of the moment.


Saturday, Nov. 9, 5:30, Hotel Vegas

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More Flipper
Flipper, Baby
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Audra Schroeder, Feb. 6, 2008

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Flipper, Levitation 2019, David Yow, Steve DePace, Ted Falconi, Rachel Thoele, Bob Weir

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