Lotus at Fillmore Auditorium, 2/8/14
Taking jazzy grooves and elevating them to frenzied funk levels through samples, synths and heavily textured percussion, Lotus played two sets of high energy dance to the younger skewed crowd Saturday night. Though no surprise MCs showed up to perform any songs off the act's latest hip hop release, Monks, a famous dance song did make its way into the night to the delight of everyone.
The band kicked things off with the aggressive and spacey "Kodiak," with Jesse Miller leading the way with a thick, reverberating bass line. You could only see silhouettes of the band members as peach lights slowly paced around the stage, and the lights came up as the glitch intro to "Suitcases" began. The group created a jazzy, cool groove as Mike Rempel palm-muted the strings taking them into a nice break down. A nice tension was built until the guys hit the peak and burst into a high tempo dance beat, and the audience's arms rose in joyful unison.
Up next was "The Surf," a happy midtempo song with pretty keyboard lines from Luke Miller. The older classic "Spaghetti" followed, taking the room to a mellow, jazzy space. The whole stage was bright red and there was one green light on Rempel, almost making him look like an alien. The bass was nice and fat as the groove built up into a funkier rhythm. Chuck Morris led the way on percussion, speeding things up as the band transitioned into "Nematode," a pretty poppy tune that built layers of rhythms and textures until its blissfully chunky sound locked in, and the band repeated each measure with more power than the first; synth lines twinkled down repeatedly.
Things got dark and spacier as the band started up "Ashcon," with intergalactic swells of sound creating an ominous feel before the song launched into a glitch, bass heavy, stomping beat. The sampled vocals telling you to "Move Your Body" gave the song a futuristic rave feel with Jesse Miller taking it to another level with a low end sampled beat to end it out. "Intro to a Cell" saw both guitarists taking it up a notch, with fast strumming, wah-wahs and sonic scratchiness all coming to play before the finished off the set with a high energy rendition of "Cannon in the Heavens."
Set Two kicked off with "Massif," each measure adding another instrumental element until they had built a thick beat; an Olympic flag waved from the crowd adding its own extra element. The more modern pop rock sounding "Behind Midwest Storefronts" was played before the band went into the jazzy composition "L'immueble." Morris really shone on percussion here, utilizing every toy he had and building the tempo up before Luke Miller stole the attention by employing the use of a talkbox.
The band hit that nice disco funk party sound before drummer Mike Greenfield raised the tempo even higher and the segued into "Juggernaut." Big crashing drums fought with heavy bass lines, while the guitars went psychedelic and they hit that perfect moment that sounds like a blast of pure joy that is the reason you see live music; it was definitely the highlight of the night. Things were taken down a notch with "Ball of Energy", a psychedelic reggae tune with hints of Middle Eastern melodies coming from Rempel's melodica.