Review | Photos | Lotus | Northeast Run

Words by: Jeanne Bettencourt | Images by: Michael P Urban & Nathan Johnson

Lotus :: 01.24.13-01.30.13 :: Northeast Run

Full review below photo gallery!

Lotus @ Knitting Factory
by Nathan Johnson
The livetronica crusaders of Lotus kicked off their biggest tour to date this past weekend, making five stops in the Northeast, starting off at the Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont. The Philadelphia natives hardly stop touring, and so far have sold out every night thus far. Their uplifting, high-energy and spiritually powerful music attracts a happy and warm-spirited crowd, and it’s easy to see why their fan base continues to grow exponentially with each passing year. Several of us diehards jumped around the chilly northeastern states and bore witness to some of the best Lotus to date. Our mini- tour featured ten amazing sets with 63 unique songs out of the 85 performed total – leaving us with only 11 repeats. The guys reached deep into their catalogue pulling out several rarities as well as promoting sons off their latest album Build. Night after night, Lotus showed us their passion for improvisation, and their dedication to their art shines through each performance. Challenging themselves by never settling into a specific sound or routine, they kept us engaged and unable to guess what they would bring to the stage next. It’s clear that these guys intend on leaving no stone unturned and strive to provide each fan with a beautifully unique experience regardless of what town they are playing in.

The tour opened at the historic Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont, with intense energy and a killer set list. The venue holds roughly 700 people and the mid-sized crowd was a pleasure to be a part of – as always, the community in Burlington radiates a warm, family-like togetherness and the friendly vibes and overall genuine attitude of those present made not only the crowd but the band feel comfortable. Highlights of the first set were a sultry ‘L’immeuble’, and an impressive ‘Wax’ sandwich, proving that all five musicians are at the top of their game, a fact that became more and more obvious throughout the weekend. In particular, bassist Jesse Miller has never sounded better and his talent shined through the second set closer ‘Tip of the Tongue’ – the high intensity song had the entire band rocking the roof off the building. They performed 3 songs off Build, and early in the 2nd set featured ‘Middle Road’, a funky mid-tempo tune with indecipherable ‘lyrics’, futuristic sounding notes from Luke Miller on keys and a catchy melody. Included in the encore was the debut of ‘Cloud 9’, a breezy hip-hop remix of their song, ‘The Surf’, featuring lyrics by Ras Arcane and Cee Knowledge (aka Doodlebug) -- this song among others will be a part of a strictly hip-hop album not yet scheduled for release.

Lotus @ Best Buy Theater
by Nathan Johnson
Burlington was definitely a powerful start to the tour, but Lotus cranked up the energy the following night as they headed Southeast to Boston’s House of Blues, and the much bigger club (capacity at about 2,400) provided a vastly different experience than the night before. The music and light show were incredible (joining them on tour this winter are some impressive brand new LED light panels designed by their very own lighting director Scott Huston – the panels also utilize mirrors which multiplies their effect and the excellent sound quality, openness to the room, and house lights and disco ball created a far superior environment to any of the other venues I saw them perform at over the course of the week. Temperatures in the teens, snow, and a wait that lasted over 2 hours for some patrons had those waiting (and missing the entire first set) beyond irritated, but amazingly enough the crowd pulled together and the sense of comradeship made what show we did see that much more exceptional. From what I was told, Lotus turned up the heat for the second set, and personal highlights included ‘Bellwether’ (revisited later in the set as well), ‘Cannon in the Heavens’ (‘Golden Ghost’ remix ft. Lyrics Born), and ‘It’s All Clear to Me Now’, featuring some of the sexiest guitar I have ever heard Mike Rempel play – the air was so heavy and thick you could cut it with a knife and spread it on toast. My favorite debut over the weekend was the dark and edgy ‘Debris’; the song has an excellent mix of bass heavy keys and catchy guitar riffs. The perfect end to the evening was a beautifully executed ‘Spritualize’, sending us off into the night with a surge of positivity and overwhelming sense of love and gratitude.

The third stop of their tour landed the band smack dab in the middle of Times Square in Manhattan’s Best Buy Theatre. The large venue of 2100 attracted a much different crowd than the previous two nights and the vibe was less positive and borderline hostile. The club itself is situated underground (producing a bass-y effect) with a cool layout – there are two bars leading to different sides of the main concert area, which itself has nice seating at the back. The pit area was a little awkward which I think added to the pushiness throughout the show. The show was at the bottom of my list for the five I witnessed throughout the week – for example they only played a one song encore, and at times seemed a little distracted -- but even the ‘worst’ of what I see these guys bring is always a genuine pleasure to watch. Set 1 closed with an impressive ‘Age of Inexperience’, and set 2 brought the beautiful new song ‘Grayrigg’, a down and dirty ‘Dowrn’, and one of the darkest versions of ‘128’ I’ve ever heard.

Lotus @ Knitting Factory
by Nathan Johnson
Night four was by far the best of the run and a treat for Lotus diehards – taken place at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY, the tiny club (capacity 300) held some of the most loyal and knowledgeable fans in the Northeast. The show was also broadcast via Livestream so thousands could watch from home, and the band put together a set list that most fans only dream of. The room was small, hot and sticky, which only added to the wonderful ambiance of the evening. It’s difficult to pick the highlights of the night, but most would agree that the return of the once thought retired song ‘Slow Cookin’ was atop that list. Lotus debuted ‘Another World’, another hip-hop remix of ‘Dowrn’, featuring Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), and Jesse’s edgy bass owned the song. A gorgeous ‘Sunrain’ opened the second set (also revisited at the end of the set), and ‘Neon Tubes’ (another off Build) really highlights every single of their artistic abilities. Other highlights included a sizzling ‘Sid’, ‘Marisol’ during their encore and ‘Through the Mirror’, one they hadn’t played since 2008.

Last but very certainly not least was the band’s final stop in the Northeast at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater. The space is an old cinema with a sloping pit area and a giant wall in back with holes for projectors. Although it was a little dirty, the sound quality was wonderful and the crowd was a pleasure to be a part of. I was a little worried going into the night that I would be left disappointed after such an amazing show in Brooklyn, but I left Syracuse more contented than ever. The guys played an excellent first set with ‘Livingston Storm’, ‘Tip of the Tongue’ and theme song ‘Zelda’ – and continued to sound on fire through the encore. Percussionist Chuck Morris shined on ‘Wax’, and the band nestled deep inside the cerebellum on ‘Greet the Mind’. One of my personal favorites, ‘Umbilical Moonrise’, blew away the encore as guitarist Mike Rempel touched the soul with his beautiful notes.

Overall, the band started off their tour on fire and is clearly pushing the limits of their talents. They continue to bring beautiful, dance heavy music to the table and inspire a family-like following that grows with each passing year. Their ability to blend both synthetic and organic music is amazing and their dedication to each live performance is not only admirable it is awe-inspiring. The band will be hard at tour all winter/spring with several stops all across the country to come (see below for tour dates). Their album Build is also set to be released on February 17.

Lotus Tour Dates :: Lotus News

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[Published on: 2/6/13]

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