Wayne Coyne wants to make sure each show by The Flaming Lips avoids that awkward moment when audience members start checking their texts. If your head is buried in your phone, you’ll miss all the wonder.
“It really is the music. To us, the music is the absolute king,” Coyne said. “We don’t want you to look away. We want you to be involved in the show so much that the music will penetrate you.
“It’ll be contagious enough that you’ll want to participate.”
When The Flaming Lips perform layered original psychedelic rock Tuesday evening at Charlottesville’s Sprint Pavilion on a bill with The Claypool Lennon Delirium and Particle Kid, the band will be sharing music from “King’s Mouth: Music and Songs,” its July 19 release. The 12-track concept album, narrated by Mick Jones of The Clash, traces the life of a mythical king whose subjects choose an unusual way to honor him after his death: preserving his head in steel so people can sit inside it and reflect. An enormous metallic head, part of Coyne’s original art installation, gives fans the same opportunity.
Coyne also wrote “King’s Mouth: Immense Head Trip Fantasy Experience” to accompany the music and art. It’s a chance to let the magic of live performance unfold in a space that’s safe for imagination.
“We are determined to bring a little bit of our atmosphere with us,” Coyne said. “Everybody is trying to make it a special, magic performance. We’re really wanting, as much as we can, to include everybody. Without the energy and participation of the audience, it really is just dudes singing on stage.”
“It can sound cosmic and it can sound hokey, but us sending love to them, and them sending love to us, is a real thing,” Coyne said. “On that night, when it happens, it’s like a drug. You just can’t believe how it feels.
“We do want it to work. There’s never a show where we just want to phone it in. When it really works, it’s like you’ve been given a big, magic gift from the gods of the universe.”
What Coyne hopes to attain is a mesmerizing show that will keep audiences riveted. He gets it from a fan’s perspective; a Coldplay show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, drew him in completely.
“It was, from the start to the end, pure magic,” he said. “It went by like it was 10 minutes.
“When I go to shows, the good ones, to me, do that exactly. You really have been lifted from your life and your worries and your anxieties. That’s our guarantee. If you’re here, it’s going to work.”
Coyne said the show isn’t something that’s complicated to grasp. The band will make sure the audience will know what’s going on.
“At a Flaming Lips show, you’ll know exactly what to do because we’ll tell you. We’ll include you,” Coyne said. “That’s why we all like sports so much; we all know what’s going on. We know this team won and this team lost. There’s no mystery.
“Everybody is zeroed in and loving the same thing at the same time. It’s not us playing; it’s us trying to connect everybody.”
And if you’re too cool to get caught up in the spirit of the show, you’re missing out. You’re limiting your own experience and enjoyment.
“That’s the truth of life,” Coyne said. “If you’re too cool and self-involved, you won’t notice the sunset as it is going down. Magic is happening every second of every day, and if you don’t notice it, it’s a long, dreadful life.”
The value of an absorbing live performance lasts long after the last notes drift away.
“You just forget to notice the good things that are happening every day. We notice the bad things,” Coyne said. “You have to notice the good things, because the bad things are going to happen.
“At a Flaming Lips show, we’re throwing confetti. It’s just colored paper. But in the right hands, with the right attitude, it’s super beams from outer space.
“I’m always saying that what the Flaming Lips do takes the audience to make it happen.”
Music can be a unifying force — “It’s like a secret society,” Coyne said — and a welcome escape that can allow people to return to their routines and responsibilities with a fresh perspective.
“And it’s supposed to be a little bit of a portal to your emotional life,” he said.
Also on the bill are two other acts with creative approaches to music.
The Claypool Lennon Delirium, which will open the show with its own psychedelic music, features bassist and vocalist Les Claypool of Primus fame and guitarist and vocalist Sean Lennon. The duo released its second album, “South of Reality,” in February.
Micah Nelson, who records using the name Particle Kid, released his own new album, “Window Rock,” on July 26.