The crowd stuffed into Avalon Friday night will remember when they lost their minds. It was at the end of Gnarls Barkley's brief but highly spirited set, when they lit into ``Crazy."
It's likely everyone in the club singing along at the top of their lungs had already heard the song eight times that day alone, but that did nothing to diminish the sublime pleasure of singer Cee-Lo Green's milky rasp ascending to the heavens aloft on strangely dreamy visions of insanity.
While one patron was heard loudly exclaiming ``finally!" when ``Crazy" popped up on the set list probably spoke for others, most in the wildly diverse audience were doing more than patiently waiting for the hit single.
They were surrendering to the energy and the spectacle of the 13-piece band, including a string quartet and three backing vocalists clad all in tennis whites, playing the nutty hip-hop and rock 'n' soul concoctions of Cee-Lo and his Gnarls partner, Danger Mouse.
A few tunes were disappointingly monochromatic and midtempo strangely flat (especially a droney Doors cover ), but fast and slow seemed strong. While it wasn't complete ``freedom in hi fidelity," the group's busting-out-all-over exuberance was infectious from the jump of explosive opener ``Go-Go Gadget Gospel."
While Danger Mouse bobbed in the background hitting various keys and knobs with the occasional obvious audible result, Cee-Lo demonstrated that titling one of his solo albums ``Cee-Lo Green I s the Soul Machine" was not simply idle hubris.
He exulted through the jaunty ``Gone Daddy Gone," testified on the dark ballad ``St. Elsewhere" and made us all scared of ``The Boogie Monster."
Occasionally, Cee-Lo would flake out and start mumbling something about energy or telling the women in the crowd that if they felt the urge to bare some flesh to not feel restricted. While his intent was jovial, these little chats killed some of the momentum.
With just one album, the band wound it up in under an hour, with the giddy Motown strut of closer ``Smiley Faces," an apt description of the audience .
Those who didn't show up early enough to check out opener Peeping Tom missed an incredibly dynamic performance by one of rock's truly unique minds. Mike Patton, former lead singer of Faith No More and various other left-of-center projects, brought a sizzling nine-piece band -- including singer-violinist Imani Coppola and mind-blowing beatboxer Rahzel -- to bear on his most accessible set of tunes in some time. He showcased his incredibly elastic voice over a roiling stew of funk, hip-hop, and metal, going growly for the slamming ``Five Seconds" and into the ether for ``Don't Even Trip." It was crazy good.