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.
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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.
The electronic flavored "Lead Pipe" brought the energy level back to all out dance party as whomping bass mixed with industrial sounds and fantastic percussion work. The transition into "Machine Gun" was a little off, but that was quickly forgotten when Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" was teased on synth, sampled vocals following for a chorus causing the crowd to respond in cheers. Rempel confidently strummed some rock and roll power chords and brought them into "Age of Inexperience."
With the sampled vocals and no musicians singing, the band almost seemed like they are from some apocalyptic future where lead singers are no longer needed. Great tension building occurred at the end as the gave it their everything, Rempel in particular getting wild and building the song a little more every time you think they will peak. They filled their encore with the expected "Colorado", "Hammerstrike" and "In an Outline" leaving fans thrilled at having a jam packed night of high energy.
Zoogma, out of Atlanta, opened the show, taking elements from electronica, metal and Michael Jackson and mixing them into a really high octane set. Big washes of synths mix with lots of crashing cymbals to give them a really bombastic sound.
Personal Bias: The last time I saw Zoogma they were playing at Cervantes' Other Side, so it was fun to see them playing to such a big crowd at the Fillmore. Random Detail: Seems like very few women knew about the other bathroom last night, I love when that happens. By the Way: I can't remember the last time I have seen that much making out at a show.
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