Review: Lotus Displays Multiple Music Egos at the PlayStation Theatre

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Over Thanksgiving weekend, jamtronica masters, Lotus, brought the heat to the Playstation Theater in midtown Manhattan. The band delivered 2 sets each night of transcendent dance grooves and mind-bending post-rock jams. (Photo credit: Essnce Photography. Pictures taken at Friday’s show)

Upcoming electronica trio, Spectacle, opened for Lotus both nights to display their unique style of music to fans that arrived early enough to the venue. Spectacle incorporates a wide variety of worldly sounds into their sets that creates a live performance not to be missed. This past year the Denver livetronica outfit made their first festival appearance, and after their performances this weekend we can only hope for more in 2017.

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Spectacle’s Jessica Borth & Michael Mahan

The energy in the room was tangible as Lotus came on stage right around 10pm Friday night for their first set. Opening with a 16-minute long rendition of 2006 Lotus original, “Tip of the Tongue,” the song reached a deep psychedelic rock-styled jam with Lotus highlighting Mike Rempel’s distinct guitar playing. This wild jam perfectly segued into another Lotus original, “Slow Cookin’,” reaching a post-rock funky groove quintessential of Lotus, before segueing back into the end of “Tip of the Tongue.” Later in the set Lotus covered Ratatat’s “Cream on Chrome,” with Mike Rempel nailing the powerful lead guitar over the rhythm and synth lines laid down by Luke Miller. Throughout the first set, a screen was set up behind the band that was synchronized with some of the samples triggered by the band.

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Returning as if they had something to prove, the second set was the true highlight of the night. Playing until 1am, Lotus dove deep into some heavy dance-fusion grooves. The band opened the second set with Eats the Light track, “I’ve been a Fool (Toy Guns),” before dropping into “Suitcases,” which reached a tight electro-trance groove. Jesse Miller’s heavy bass lines combined with the percussive textures of Chuck Morris took this jam to another level. The jams continued throughout the set with a 20-minute long rendition of “It’s All Clear to Me Now” which worked its way to a powerful peak before returning to trance groove that segued seamlessly into a particularly funky “Comptroller.” Ending the set with fan favorite “Wax,” Mike Rempel’s guitar playing stood out once again, playing the intricate licks with precision and style before leading the band into another melodic dance groove. Lotus brought the highest level of funk for the encore, covering the Shuggie Otis tune “Strawberry Letter 23.” Luke Miller got on the talk box for this song, creating an amazing combination of funk and electronic, as only Lotus can do.

Here’s Friday night’s set list:

Set 1:AS3A8463-683x1024 Review: Lotus Displays Multiple Music Egos at the PlayStation Theatre
Tip of the Tongue >
Slow Cookin’ >
Tip of the Tongue
Basin to Benin
Cream on Chrome
Sodium Vapor
Juggernaut >
Shimmer and Out

Set 2:
I’ve Been A Fool (Toy Guns)
Suitcases
Blue Giant
It’s All Clear to Me Now >
Comptroller
Caywood
Wax

Encore:
Strawberry Letter 23

You can listen to an audience recording of Friday’s show here thanks to taper Moricle.

After Friday’s show, fans were unsure how the band would deliver another performance of equal proportions, but on Saturday Lotus proved why they are such a longstanding jamtronica favorite by bringing the heat for a second consecutive night. A distinctly different show than the night before, Saturday’s concert was much more post-rock oriented, as opposed to Friday’s electronic-fusion dance party. Early on in the first set Lotus played fan favorite, “Sid,” which stretched out into a nice rhythmic groove. Lotus brought out guest Mutlu for “When Our Nerves No Longer Twitch” and “Fearless.” Jesse Miller also took advantage of this opportunity to put down his bass guitar and play some catchy synth bass lines.

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Like Friday, the second set on Saturday outdid the first, again rocking until 1am. Opening the second set with “Inspector Norse” (originally by Todd Terje) the jam took off into psychedelic post-rock perfection. Luke Miller once again hopped on the talk box towards the end of the jam and brought that distinct robotic sound before segueing into another fan favorite, “Jump Off,” which was jammed out for over 15 minutes and reached a great dance-rock groove. The rest of the set featured top-notch post-rock jamming and masterful musicianship from everyone on stage. Returning with “72 Hours Awake” into “Hammerstrike,” Lotus ended with a chill encore to a sizzling hot weekend.

Here’s Saturday night’s set list:

Set 1:AS3A8288-683x1024 Review: Lotus Displays Multiple Music Egos at the PlayStation Theatre
Break Build Burn
Spiritualize >
Sid >
Spiritualize
Tarot
When Our Nerves No Longer Twitch*
Fearless*
Gilded Age

Set 2:
Inspector Norse >
Jump Off
…And Yet They Fight
Grayrigg
Plant Your Root >
Golden Ghost >
Flower Sermon

Encore:
72 Hours Awake
Hammerstrike

*Mutlu on vocals

You can listen to an audience recording of Saturday’s show here thanks to taper Moricle.

About author

Ty Levine

Born into the Dead, and indoctrinated into the scene on Phish lots across the northeast, Ty lives for the jams. Catch him outside Biscuits, Phish and UM shows these days, along with just about every jam show in NYC.

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