Lotus has found their place in the music world after 15+ years of grinding in the festival and touring circuits alike. Most recently they’ve found a place in the electronic music scene in addition to their spot in the jam scene. A love for analog equipment, electronica covers and side projects like Luke the Knife and Beard o Bees have helped them nestle nicely in to the exploding electronic music scene of America.
Just like their jamtronica counterparts STS9 and Disco Biscuits, the transition in to the electronica scene didn’t come without growing pains. Accused of alienating the jam crowd and relying too much on programmed drums, samples and stabbing synths, Lotus (and the others) weren’t able to do this easily or without consequences. But it seems the ‘big 3’ pounded through those growing pains and have each found a way to mix modern-day electronic tendencies with the progressive jamming that cut their teeth.
So this brings us up to January 31st, 2015. Lotus is playing a sold-out show at Manhattan’s Terminal 5, where about 3000 people will party with the 16 year old band. Kicking things off with an energetic “Grayrigg” as hundreds of party animals filed in to the venue created an intensity straight off the bat. This may be a much larger venue than the Brooklyn Bowl, where Lotus enjoyed a 3-night run last time they visited the Big Apple, but they were hardly intimidated. I guess all those massive festivals has really primed these guys for the big time.
As the first set raged on, “Livingston Storm” satisfied some old-school heads, Moon Hooch brought the energy up with a sax sit-in, and guitarist Mike Rempel surely changed some lives with his passionate soloing. A new tune “Let Me In” worked its way in there as well, and the crowd loved it. To end things off, “Sunrain” sandwiched a cover of Todd Terje’s “Inspector Norse,” a pleasant surprise and a nod to how tasteful their electronica influences have become as of late.
Second set turned up the heat, which acted as a steamy getaway from the 20-or-so degrees that cloaked Saturday night. In an egregious effort to get tropical, one concert-goer stripped completely naked. I completely missed this though, and only heard of it Sunday night. Nevertheless, I suppose it’s worth annotating in a jam scene that is obsessed with baseball-like statistics.
The quirky “Wax” made a second-set appearance, followed by the post-rock vibed “Invicibility of Youth.” The live favorite and feel-really-f**king-good “Arupa” set the crowd off on an ambient, jamming journey. “Turqoise” acted as a pallet cleanser before the epic “Flower Sermon” sandwich to follow.
One of their most-played songs, “Flower Sermon” is a phenomenal live staple. However this would be a really unique version, as Daft Punk’s “Around The World” was sandwiched in between, making way for Luke to use his vocoder skills in singing the hook. Lotus catches some understandable flack by using sampled vocals live, and it is admittedly a little awkward when someone is singing, but it isn’t any of the five dudes on stage. This, though…this was cool.
“Umbilical Moonrise” encore packed in a fantastic night of music from the dudes in Lotus. Proving that they are nowhere close to done after 16 years of shredding, the jamtronica outfit continues a huge tour in support of their newest effort The Gilded Age.
Setlist via Lotus Family on FB…