LOTUS | 01.27.07 | TOWSON, MD

Words by John Goff :: Images by Sam Friedman

Lotus & The Frequency :: 01.27.07 :: Recher Theatre :: Towson, MD


Lotus :: 01.27 :: Maryland
There's a reason the intimate Recher Theatre didn't provide chairs for this performance - nobody needed them. Lotus, the Philly electronic-jam crossover sensation, and the evening's opener, The Frequency, an up-and-coming L.A. power boogaloo band, made a combined sound that could well represent the future of jam genre exploration. Both bands exceeded expectations for a packed house that left it all on the dance floor.

The crowd was still filling in when The Frequency, fresh off the Baltimore Beltway from Southern California, hit the stage. The five-man group, recently signed to Ropeadope Digital, consists of Marc Cazorla (organ, Fender Rhodes, Moog, drums, vocals), Alex Stiff (guitar, bass, harmonica, vocals), Mike Faiola (drums), Hector aka "El Presidente" (bass), and Sean Coolican (percussion, electronics).


Lotus :: 01.27 :: Maryland
Their sound is something akin to Herbie Hancock, The Beta Band, and Charlie Hunter sharing a stage with a drum machine and laptop. Throughout the eight-song set, the ensemble started each piece in a very unassuming manner. Within a minute or two the members would build off each other, allowing the sublime beats and organ to seamlessly thrust things into overdrive.

Following their opening selection, "Svarls Barkley," the band quickly managed to get the crowd moving with future fan favorite "Jim Gordon." The tune uses a raunchy beat overlaid with The Frequency's unison monotone vocals. Close to fifteen minutes later, the group ended in a fury of Coolican's tambourines, Hector's thumping bass, and Cazorla's Moog organ, which, at times, duplicated Marco Benevento's grinding groove.

Following a mellow "Fade," they dropped into "Zero," a mysterious song that could easily go in many directions but stayed on tracks towards enjoyable monotony. The Frequency then served up a two-song closing dish of "Jersey City" and "UK Jam (I'm Alive)." Unlike many opening bands, The Frequency proved to be a sling shot of crowd energy for the headliner.


Lotus :: 01.27 :: Maryland
Lotus is Luke Miller (bass, sampler), Jesse Miller (guitar, keys), Chuck Morris (electronic/acoustic percussion), Mike Rempel (guitar), and Steve Clemens (drums). Lotus began more than seven years ago as a "straight-up jamband" but has evolved into a leader of the trance-jam movement that embraces electronica, house, beats and synths. Whimsical and airy on first listen, they are an energetic, tour de force upon further reflection. Their third and most recent release, Strength of Weak Ties, is making inroads with fans of crossover jam. This EP provided several note-bending concoctions that worked the crowd into a dance party.

"Blue Giant" began slowly and prepared the dancers for a 15-minute "Marisol" that followed. Amidst all the beautiful space jams it often appeared that guitarist Mike Rempel wasn't fully utilizing his abilities to push the songs over the top. Rempel produces a very melodic, sweet sound that helps tie Lotus' use of drum-machine, pre-cut studio sounds, and beats off an I-Mac with the live roots-rock elements, but at times meanders a bit too much as opposed to digging in and providing the big payoff.


Lotus :: 01.27 :: Maryland
The second set began with a carefree offering called "Nematode" before a very upbeat "At Last Glance" gave way to what the Lotus faithful call an "Uber segue," where the band goes in and out of the "Intro to a Cell" > "Shimmer and Out" segue multiple times. The lighting was beyond stellar all night, and really worked the crowd into a frenzy during this schizophrenic offering. The final songs of the night were "Ball of Energy" and "Wax," where Clemens's drums and Morris's acoustic percussion made this combo a clear highlight of the show.

Lotus and The Frequency is a combination not to be missed. If you're a livetronica fan than you'll find the next level here. If you're an old Dead or Phish fan you may very well find a missing link that propels you into a lifetime of new music exploration.

LOTUS TOUR DATES
02/06 | Gypsy Tea Room & Ballroom | Dallas, TX (w/ The Frequency)
02/07 | Stubb's BBQ | Austin, TX (w/ The Frequency)
02/08 | Chelsea's | Baton Rouge, LA (w/ The Frequency)
02/09 | Martin's | Jackson, MS (w/ The Frequency)
02/10 | Newby's | Memphis, TN (w/ The Frequency)
02/11 | Blue Cats | Knoxville, TN (w/ The Frequency)
02/23 | Colgate University | Hamilton, NY
02/24 | Bowery Ballroom | New York, NY
02/28 | Irvine Auditorium | Philadelphia, PA (w/ Tea Leaf Green)
03/01 | Java Barn | Canton, NY
03/02 | Paradise Rock Club | Boston, MA
03/09 | Langerado Music Festival | Sunrise, FL
03/10 | Langerado Music Festival | Sunrise, FL
03/11 | Langerado Music Festival | Sunrise, FL
03/23 | River Street Jazz Cafe | Plains, PA
03/24 | Chameleon Club | Lancaster, PA (w/ The Bridge)
04/05 | Grog Shop | Cleveland Heights, OH
04/06 | Little Brothers | Columbus, OH
04/07 | Abbey Pub | Chicago, IL
04/11 | Black Sheep | Colorado Springs, CO
04/12 | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO
04/13 | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO
04/14 | Aggie Theatre | Fort Collins, CO

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[Published on: 2/6/07]

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Comments

rulosa01 star Tue 2/6/2007 06:26PM
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I was totally at this show! Man it was ballin'

I'm talkin

LEGIT

My rating of a 1 goes to the lack of mention of the Flower Sermon in the first set, which was legit as all hell.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Wed 2/7/2007 05:13AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

Lotus has always been good. period. peace ya'll

nfenne starstarstar Wed 2/7/2007 07:50AM
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nfenne

It was a good show indeed! I much preferred seeing Lotus in the more intimate atmosphere of the 8x10. Security @ the Recher are dicks and Towson can be a little lame.

Hearing their percussionist behind a full digital kit is amazing!

ssrh4 starstarstarstar Wed 2/7/2007 08:45AM
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MOOSE CONVENTION...I saw them the other night at Kenny's Castaways, also the first venue that phish played in NYC, and they were unbelievable. They deserve some attention and should be given a chance to exhibit their talent at a festival for the mass to see them first-hand. They have consistently improved after each perfomrmance and are only getting better. They are lead by the talented Brian Eisenberg on the drums and Asher on lead guitar and vocals. They have an eclectic sound that comprises of funky jazz and jammy guitar sequences reminiscent of the Dead. If they are not "big" enough yet to be booked for a festival, they should atleast be checked out at their local shows. Sleep tight wookies.

gmoo starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/7/2007 08:58AM
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gmoo

It's the lotus braaa! Do you a favor and come back to Michigan soon. Jesse runs this gig and has these boys groovin' hard. Check them out if you can for sure.

johnnygoff Wed 2/7/2007 09:30AM
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johnnygoff

last year, they were at camp bisco but they had a bad time slot...where not a lot of peeps got a chance to see them. I completely agree that they have evolved over time. They haven't changed or sold out ---- there's a difference...

they really have evolved and deserve more recognition as a group! Very good indeed! High energy and high level of musician-ship! I also completely agree --- percussionist on a full digi-kit really adds a "wow" factor!

cuttyfives Wed 2/7/2007 09:37AM
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first lotus show was amazing, second was alright (NYC JAM CRUSIE)third was a kind of weak. Whats up w/ that? I made a bunch of friends go with me and Lotus held back. I'll give em one more shot because the first show was dope.

letshavesomefun Wed 2/7/2007 10:07AM
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Ive been seeing these guys for almost 5 years now and they have come along way since then. They have progressed into a very well sound i like to call electric-jazz. They are smooth but can get the party started when need be. They are a band growing by performance. And besides being offering great music, they are really down to earth people. Good peeps who make great music.

Sueshi starstarstarstar Wed 2/7/2007 11:40AM
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Sueshi

Nice shots, Sam!

Schafey starstarstar Wed 2/7/2007 12:24PM
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Schafey

The energy in that room kept me smilin' for days! The second set brought the kind of sound that reminds me why I love Lotus so much... it was unreal.

the story doesn't get as much praise as the show because Mikes the man... no questions asked.

vespuchi2 Wed 2/7/2007 03:31PM
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vespuchi2

good to see some love on jambase. cant wait for the co run. gotta love that all i gotta do is walk a few blocks down the road and hit up the aggie. they threw it down back in sept.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstar Thu 2/8/2007 04:22AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

first saw them at smilefest 2003, and it was afternoon, and it RIPPED like a late nite gig!!!!! peace ya'll

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Thu 2/8/2007 09:22AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

Lotus plays knoxville this sunday nite 2-11-07 and Raq is on saturday 2-10-07!!! I am gonna so try to see these shows.
peace yall....

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Thu 2/8/2007 09:25AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

cuttyfives, I had to see SIX Pgroove shows before they Blew my
Mind. sometimes its like that. U gotta keep trying to see what the hype is all about. I am still struggling with MOE and UM. I am trying to like them... ehhh....

msb696 starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/8/2007 11:45AM
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msb696

hell yeah. I was at this show, and it was amazing. The Frequency were a very nice surprise, and I really enjoyed their set. Lotus tore the roof off - 2nd set more than 1st.

THANK YOU TAPERS: http://www.archive.org/details/lotus2007-01-27

fchess starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/8/2007 12:23PM
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fchess

Hey man, this was a nice read. And I agree the band has really been evolving, for awhile now. I remember when that first record was released, and the ups and downs since. Great review. Thanks!

thelung starstarstar Thu 2/8/2007 06:01PM
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thelung

I'm not familiar with John Goff, but I'd be willing bet that his exposure to Lotus is likely limited. Most fans that aren't casual ones realize that the beauty of Lotus is the subtle, intimate moments, the intricate interplay between the band members, and developing jams organically and communally. Imo, neither Mike nor anyone else in the band is responsible for artificially "pushing the songs" or "providing the big payoff." Lotus is not The New Deal, The Disco Biscuits, or Pnuma, and I wish people would stop expecting as much.

derreck Fri 2/9/2007 11:58AM
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derreck

Yeah, no mention of Flower Sermon? Weak.

rusty1987toyota starstarstarstar Fri 2/9/2007 12:15PM
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The recher sucks they would'nt let me in because I was apperently to intoxicated. This along with last year's 8 x 10 show make it the second time I've been denied my Lotus vibes.

Good story though... All my friends who, unlike me, got in said it was a kickass dance party.

BlueGrassandBeats starstarstarstar Fri 2/9/2007 12:34PM
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I know Johnny Goff. He's from my area. (see him at shows all the time) When he got back from maryland seeing lotus, he told me he thought they were the future of this type of music. I asked what they were like and he told me that there personality was one as a band, not band member to band member. thats what made me want to go see them, because there were no egos, johnny told me.

nice piece about a good band I really want to see now!

johnnygoff Fri 2/9/2007 04:45PM
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johnnygoff

hey thelung,

thanks for the feedback. just to clarify (thanks to Lori above for her unsolicited support btw) I don't expect any band to be like any other band. Lotus is there own breed--i totally recognize that their beauty is in the unassuming and understated grooves. However, Mike Rempel is such a sick guitarist--really. Personally however, for me, in a few key points during Lotus' sick sets, I just thought an ear-peeling, soprano guitar lick would have tied a bow on some of those long jams. It's a personal preference, but that's why I wrote what i did. Trust me ---- It's tough to find a criticism of Lotus...haha! all the best 'lung' in "the 'burgh" ---- johnny.

domelias starstarstarstar Fri 2/9/2007 08:01PM
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If people didn't go apeshit over the big pay-off, Trey Anastasio would be out of a job. Yes, maybe Mike COULD take things to another level but there is serious beauty in the noodle. I agree that the best thing about Lotus is the band's interplay and Mike seems to know that taking over with a few Trey style licks would cramp their style. Lotus is a rare band in that you can focus on any one member of the band at any time during a show and be mesmerized. Go see them now while they're playing small places because they are primed for bigger and better things. Not to mention the fact that they have debuted 11 new songs in the last 3 months, many of which kick ass.
DOM

whodoyoudo Sat 2/10/2007 12:52AM
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whodoyoudo

I know ive had chances
I know i Have a demo ive played since 2 yrs ago

But next time they come to chambana

Im Checkin it out

Summer Camp

kb4404 Sat 2/10/2007 05:04PM
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Be sure to check out The Frequency!! They were better than Lotus!

msb696 Mon 2/12/2007 05:42AM
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msb696

kb4404: No, The Frequency was not better than Lotus. They put on an excellent show, but cmon, you gotta call a spade a spade. Lotus is much stronger, hands down.

bizzlebuffalo Mon 2/12/2007 11:08AM
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im so all you guys are hella into lotus. I saw them in boulder about 5 years ago, maybe an audience of 30. They tore it up and always have, a much prettier sound then say sts9 and much more comforting that say the pnuma trio. After that show i looked to my freind and said " these guys are gonna be big" and now their really showing their true colors.

avant-chicago starstar Sat 2/17/2007 06:12PM
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avant-chicago

Lotus isn't about big payoffs in the short term - they aren't like a lot bands were you're gonna shoot your wad 10 times a night - quick and meaningless when it's all over. They are about rolling along, much more subtle and introspective. A couple mighty and memorable orgasms not a bunch of forgetful ones.