31 March, 2015 - RollingStone.com
The Flaming Lips, Kesha and Norah Jones brought hang-10 harmonies and good vibrations to the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles Monday night for Brian Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of Brian Wilson, which boasted an impressive array of artists and benefited Sweet Relief and the Jameson Neighborhood Fund.
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Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips fittingly offered up a woozy, winding rendition of "Good Vibrations," which bounced beatifically between the beach and the far reaches of outer space as their giant mylar balloon reading "We Love You Brian" was passed through the crowd.
While Kesha found a spot on the Brian Fest bill at the last minute — replacing Brandon Flowers, who had to bow out, Yahoo reports — the Los Angeles-born singer paid tribute to her own kind with a brassy rendition of "California Girls." Kesha's hip-swinging performance of the Beach Boys classic came as a particular delight as the pop star hasn't offered up much in the way of music lately as she remains embattled in a lawsuit with producer Dr. Luke.
Backed by a bevy of singers, Norah Jones delivered an understated performance of the seminal Pet Sounds track "God Only Knows." Recalling her jazz roots, Jones' vocals were often tantalizingly smoky, building almost to a belt amidst a final orchestral flourish — though she deftly pulled back, closing the song with a soft, subtle coo.
Brian Fest also featured Heart's Ann Wilson singing "Warmth of the Sun," Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and the Beach Boys' Al Jardine dueting on "Don't Worry Baby," and Devendra Banhart dressed as a carrot singing "Vegetables." Wilson's own daughters, Carnie and Wendy, also took the stage with their Wilson Phillips bandmate, Chynna Phillips, for a rendition of "In My Room."
Wilson himself closed out the show with a short set that kicked off with "Surfer Girl," which he performed alongside Jones, Jardine, Boz Scaggs and longtime collaborator Blondie Chaplin. The entire Brian Fest lineup then returned to the stage to sing along on "Surfin' USA," "Barbara Ann" and "Fun, Fun, Fun."
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