There’s something special about seeing a band from the city you
currently call home in the city that you once called home. When the band is
Philadelphia’s post-everything powerhouse quintet Lotus—closing out a sold-out three-night
run at the storied Brooklyn Bowl NYC—said something is pure alchemy.
Lotus has a decade on the current lineup consisting of Mike Greenfield,
brothers Jesse and Luke Miller, Chuck Morris, and Mike Rempel— and have been brewed
with an additional 10 years of moniker before that. While pegged a “jam band”
in wide circles, the band is known for genre-spanning compositions,
increasingly deft musicianship, and a palpable chemistry and confidence that
come together to offer transcendent experiences and artifacts both in
headphones and in person.
Lotus sprung on at Brooklyn Bowl with “Wax.” It was plucky as hell and
downright zany towards the end. After some commentary on the spring weather,
they went into “Jiggle,” one off the Frames
Per Second album that,
despite being refreshingly, quietly groovy, felt oddly familiar in a live
setting, before then slinking super chill into “Livingston Storm,” then a menacing
“Sleep When We Are Dead” dance party. “Milk & Honey” was a sunny transport
to another planet before “Jump Off” brought us back to our bones and ended the first
set with an outro of exuberant funk.
The second set thundered in with “Juggernaut,” a song nearly as old as
Lotus. Going back to earlier recordings of the song, one finds that the song
arrangement has very much stayed intact, a banger from the start. What struck as
remarkable about this particular performance was just how tight Lotus has
become as a band, telepathic from so much time playing together, yet always
leaving room for more musicianship and elevation.
“Neon Tubes Pt. 1” knocked our socks off, before morphing into “Lucid
Awakening” for a complex counterpart that built up with all instruments
shredding, soaring, and dropping off into the balm-like “Blue Giant.” “Did
Fatt” was sparse but epic, introspection front-loaded with urgency, and “Neon
Tubes Pt. 2” was zippy and fun.
“Shimmer and Out” was a gorgeous
closer, really light and pure in a room cleansed by an amazing two sets of music.
Many in the audience had been there all three nights. Uplifting and strumming,
it was a nice pre-encore to semi-leave us with before the very classic
“Spiritualize” put it down, washing over us over and over like waves until the
tide went out.
Once again, Lotus near-effortlessly showcased their expansive catalog
and influential, yet accessible blend of groovy psych-rock that continues to
evolve on the foundation from whence they came, all while creating new sounds
and dynamics that promise to take their following anywhere—happily.
Set 1: Wax, Jiggle,
Livingston Storm> Sleep When We Are Dead, Milk & Honey, Jump Off
Set 2: Juggernaut,
Neon Tubes> Lucid Awakening, Blue Giant, Did Fatt> Neon Tubes Pt. 2,
Shimmer And Out