REVIEW: Lotus in Washington, D.C.
- By Ben Suarez
- Published on February 17, 2011
|Photo Credit: Brian Hockensmith|
Lotus returned to Washington, D.C. in February with a mission: to solidify their reputation to those in the nation's capital as spectacular performers.
The Philadelphia-based four-piece has been around since 1999, but has been receiving heaps of praise and recognition in the jam community in recent years.
Coming off a successful show in Morgantown, WV, Lotus descended on the famed 9:30 Club for a two-night run that might go down as their best to date. Both shows were sold out, but that didn’t keep anyone in attendance from dancing like they had the entire dance floor to themselves.
Friday night kicked off with two openers, beginning with an inspiring performance by underground hip-hop legend Mr. Lif, an under-appreciated emcee who has spent his career promoting the importance of the lyrics in his art. Those who got to the venue in time to catch his set were treated to an impressive performance including his take on Far East Movement’s “Like A G6,” which got the party started immediately.
[FIND Lotus tour dates and scheduled festival appearances on their website.]
California deejay Daedelus followed, maintaining the high-intensity atmosphere and getting the crowd pumped for the headlining act.
Lotus is a band that frequently defies the labels they’re given, and can be considered neither wholly a jam band or an electronic group. They are the quintessential hybrid.
Digging into their extensive catalogue, Lotus kicked off the show with oft-opener “Grayrigg,” and the stage was set for an incredible performance.
|Photo Credit: Brian Hockensmith|
Followed by “Lead Pipe” and “Suitcases,” Lotus closed out the first set with a thunderous “Tarasque” featuring original lyrics performed by Mr. Lif.
During set break, fans packed the sidewalk outside openly praising the band’s enhanced originality and trying to catch their breath.
The light rig for the weekend was as intricate as its ever been, and the highly active smoke machine added a sense of mystery to the performance every time a band member found himself enveloped by its gray shroud.
[NEWS NUG - Lotus and The Glitch Mob announce Red Rocks show in July.]
The second set began with “Behind Midwest Storefronts,” and the sold-out crowd pressed as far forward as possible while a few stragglers trickled in from outside. Lotus then delved into “Bellwether,” and the extended performance of this and other crowd-favorites like “Bubonic Tonic” brought the atmosphere inside 9:30 to a level of previously unreached bedlam.
It was then that the screams of appreciation became deafening, and the masterful soloing by lead guitarist Mike Rempel during “Hammerstrike” elicited a rare grin from the usually stoic bassist, Jesse Miller.
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Overall, the first night’s performance set the bar pretty high for Saturday night’s show. And if the band’s on-stage body language after the encore told the crowd anything, it’s that they planned to top it the next night.
Daedelus opened on his own Saturday night, keeping the energy high and the crowd anticipating the follow-up to an already dominant performance.
The band warmed up the capacity crowd with “Golden Ghost,” followed by an energetic “Travel.” Saturday had all the same energy as the previous night, and many familiar faces who snatched up the two-day passes.
Lotus fans seem to be an extremely devoted bunch. It wasn’t uncommon to hear the guy next to you say this show marked his fifteenth or even twentieth plus show.
Next came “Jump Off” and appropriately so, everyone went nuts. While it was a standard rendition of the song, the crowd roared with approval, creating a frenetic environment that seemed to catapult the band’s confidence to a new level.
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After a short break, the subtle grooves of “Turquoise” and “Flower Sermon,” kept the audience dancing before the band threw them a curve ball to the crowd, busting out the theme song to the “Mega Man” video game.
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They closed the set with a superb "Spiritualize," arguably the crown jewel of Lotus' expansive catalog.
The night ended with an encore of “Modicum” and “Bush Pilot” and the crowd shuffled out slowly, savoring every last moment of the music they’d just heard.
The band seemed overjoyed at the end of their two-night stint, with beaming smiles splattered across their faces. The improvisational cohesion with which Lotus performs is nearly unparalleled, making every performance unique and better than the last.
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Accompanied by the warm send-off of hundreds of happily screaming fans, Lotus reluctantly left the stage behind to progress on their tour.
With each show garnering the band more and more attention, Lotus’ rapidly-growing fan base can expect more amazing performances in the very near future.
02.11.2011 - 9:30 Club - Washington, D.C.
Set I: Grayrigg, Livingston Storm, Break Build Burn, Lead Pipe > Suitcases, Tarasque*
Set II: Behind Midwest Storefronts, Bellwether > Umbilical Moonset > Bellwether, Kesey Seed, Bubonic Tonic > Hammerstrike, 128
* = featuring Mr. Lif
02.12.2011 - 9:30 Club - Washington, D.C.Set I: Golden Ghost, Travel > Jump Off, Pitched to the Fire, Destroyer, Blue Giant, Wax
Set II: Turquoise, Flower Sermon, Lou Carcohi, It's All Clear To Me Now > Mega Man Theme > It's All Clear To Me Now > Spiritualize
Encore: Modicum, Bush Pilot
Lotus is currently in the ending stages of their winter tour. Find a list of tour dates - including a special Red Rocks performance in July - and planned festival appearances on their website.