Whenever Lotus comes to the city, there’s only one place to be if you appreciate live music. This weekend the celebrated jamtronica outfit originally from Indiana finds itself at the historic Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Saturday’s show is the second of a two-night stand in New York that kicks off tonight at the F-Shed in Syracuse. For die-hard Lotus fans, Saturday’s show at The Cap is the last chance to see the band before their festival season kicks off at Down by Downtown Festival in Virginia, followed by Cheese’s infamous Electric Forest in Michigan.
Even for a band like Lotus with nearly 20 years of history (the group was formed back in 1999 at Goshen College in Indiana), there’s a first time for everything. Saturday night’s show marks the first time Luke, Jesse, Greenfield, Rempel, and Chuck have ever performed at The Capitol Theatre. Fans who’ve chased Lotus around for decades with hundreds of shows under their belts can in turn feel excited that on Saturday they will bear witness to an important landmark for the band.
If you’ve never been to The Capitol Theatre before, you’re in for one hell of a night. Often referred to as “The Original Rock Palace,” The Cap was originally built in 1926 as a 2,000 capacity up-scale movie theatre by Thomas Lamb, the same designer who imagined the original Fox Theatre in San Francisco, as well as the third rendition of Madison Square Garden. In the early 1970s the theatre was renovated and redesigned to house some of the most progressive music of the era, including bands like Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin. After its grand re-opening in 1970, the Grateful Dead performed 18 shows at The Cap in a one year span which “many fans think were some of the best shows the band ever played,” according to American Songwriter. In an interview back in 1970, Jerry Garcia, who now has a lounge attached to The Cap named after him called “Garcia’s,” said the following about The Capitol Theatre (unfortunately there is not any known footage of the Dead at the Cap back in the 70s, so below find a touching video of Phil Lesh’s 77th birthday at The Cap filmed a few weeks ago):
“See, there’s only two theaters, man, they are the only two places that are set up pretty groovy all around for music and for smooth stage changes, good lighting and all that – the Fillmore and The Capitol Theater. And those are the only two in the whole country. The rest of the places we play are sort of anonymous halls and auditoriums and gymnasiums and all those kinds of places. Well, the thing is that we do our best show, in that sense – show sense, here in New York, ’cause here it’s the show world.”
Long story short, The Capitol Theatre has arguably done more for the development of Rock & Roll than any other venue across the country, and our beloved Lotus takes the stage at this historic space for their first time on Saturday. Given the magnitude of this show, I’m hoping the band takes advantage of the night to do a few things. For one, I’d personally love some information about Summer Dance. Is it happening this summer? If my memory serves me correctly, the festival’s main promoter told attendees on stage at last year’s Summer Dance that 2017’s event was confirmed. So if this is still true, what are the dates? Has a lineup been formed? Lots of questions to be asked, and lots of information (hopefully) to be disclosed! Second, I’m always a sucker for new music. Most bands who perform at The Cap, take Twiddle for example, premier new songs on stage. This all said, hopefully we get one or two unperformed heaters on Saturday night. Finally, this could be considered a “full-circle” moment for the band, or a victory lap of sorts. Not every band is trusted to headline The Cap without significant support on a Saturday night with two sets of music, so I’m hoping Lotus takes advantage of this special opportunity to celebrate their timeless 18-year-old catalogue with some Lotus rarities and classics.
Tickets for Saturday’s show are running low, but are still available for purchase at this link. To get a flavor for the type of set Lotus has performed recently, I’ve embedded the most recent free live recording at my disposal, which was taped just over a week ago during the first of a two night run on March 31st at Emo’s in Austin. Night 2 is also available for purchase at this link. According to the band’s website, Saturday’s show will be available as an HD soundboard next week, so we’ll make sure to include that link in our review of the show. Finally, in case you missed it, we did an in-depth review of Lotus’s 2016 run at the Playstation Theatre in Manhattan which you can read here. See you on Saturday!
Set 1: Middle Road, Wax > Sift> Wax, opo, When Our Nerves No Longer Twitch, Debris, Gilded Age
Set 2: Cold Facts, Eats the Light, In An Outline, Cream on Chrome, Plant Your Root> Golden Ghost> Spiritualize
E: Kodiak, Sunrain