Image is as hazy as the night was. via @lprnyc on Instagram
Flying Lotus hit the stage in Greenwich Village around 1am. The experimental beat producer had already played a full set earlier that night in a jam-packed tent at the Governors Ball Festival. While the earlier set focused on his newest LP You’re Dead, the late-night show was a little bit more of a free-form endeavor.
“I’m just gonna get drunk and see what happens,” was the vibe FlyLo gave the sold out crowd at LPR. He started with some funky dance beats, of which he said at least one was an unreleased FlyLo track, but no one can be sure exactly what we were tuned in to.
After about 20 minutes of Dām-Funk sounding tunes, Flying Lotus started with some familiar material. Jay Electronica and Just Blaze’s smasher “Exhibit C” got New York City going insane in the early hours of Monday morning. He worked in Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta,” mashed with a Portishead sample, before dropping “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre. FlyLo turned into his human self, Steven Ellison, to tell us that he wanted to be Dre when he was growing up. “Dreams come true, don’t believe the hype!” he told us.
After that it became more or less a live version of his BBC 1 residency. He played “Wesley’s Theory,” an unreleased collab with Joey Bada$$, and then unleashed his other personality, the wordy rapper Captain Murphy. “Between Villains,” the collab between MF DOOM, Earl Sweatshirt, FlyLo, and Captain Murphy, ensued. He dropped MF DOOM’s “Accordion” in front of a crowd that obviously knew their underground hip hop. It might be worth noting that we were literally under ground in NYC while this was taking place. Trip on that…
Ellison played a beat that Kendrick almost used for his track “For Sale?” before diving into the story of how “Never Catch Me” was made. Apparently Kendrick wasn’t going to do the track for Flying Lotus’ record because he wanted it for his own. It wasn’t until Pharrell called Ellison up to tell him he wanted the track that Ellison begged Kendrick, who finally complied. FlyLo told the story with a kid’s excitement. He’s still excited that he even gets to work with these cats at all, let alone the fact that they’re both pulling his heart strings for beats.
At about an hour and fifteen minutes in, FlyLo rather abruptly called it a night. He shut off his laptop and told the crowd he was too drunk to continue. You know how encores are sort of played out? This wasn’t one of them. Ellison was legitimately ready to go watch Game of Thrones, but the crowd simply would not let him. A ground-shaking roar brought him back to the stage for another 30+ minutes of dancey, garage-house rhythms that included something that sounded a heck of a lot like Justin Martin’s “Ghettos & Gardens” track.
For an hour and forty-five (or so) minutes, FlyLo had the crowd drinking out of his tequila glass. Taking advantage of New York’s love affair with hip hop while mixing in his own experimental tendencies and undeniable taste proved to be a lethal weapon. After the show, he took countless photos with fans, posing with his infectious smile. We filed out to have ourselves a smoke in Washington Square park, just blocks from where Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and countless others played their early shows. While Ellison may not be comparable to those stars, he’s as exciting as anything else we have in 2015, and he certainly proved that much with his set Monday morning.