Lotus | 04.14 – 16.2014 | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY

 

…Lotus takes over Brooklyn and does not disappoint…

2014.04.16 - Lotus J.Miller & C.Morris_800x512

April 14, 15, 16, 2014

Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY

Bk Bowl Front-M.Urban

 

“Having never been to the Brooklyn Bowl and being a bit of a venue connoisseur, if you will, to say I was thrilled at the opportunity to cover my favorite band for three consecutive nights would be an understatement. The venue was fantastic and unassuming on the outside–an absolute gem.”

 

Photos By: OwlEyesOnYou

Additional Photos By: Michael Urban & Justin Ciccone

 IMG_4580-4_800x456

 

 

Words By: Michael Urban

Stepping off of the Megabus from Providence, RI, I felt a jolt of excitement run through by body, as my feet hit the pavement and the warm air brushedphoto_483x600 against my bare legs for the first time since last summer. On this unseasonably warm day I could tell that there was something special in the air and among the residents who live in this metropolis. It wasn’t until someone immediately bumped into me, without saying sorry, that I then realized I was in the heart of what many still call “The Greatest City” in the world, New York City.

photo(1)_450x600I would not be spending my time in the heart of New York City, however. After a short eight-mile drive, thirty minutes in “the city”, we arrived at our destination: The Greenpoint YMCA Hostel, where my friends and fellow Lotus Family members would be sleeping the next three nights.

Having never been to the Brooklyn Bowl and being a bit of a venue connoisseur, if you will, to say I was thrilled at the opportunity to cover my favorite band for three consecutive nights would be an understatement. The venue was fantastic and unassuming on the outside–an absolute gem. As soon as you stepped, just passed will-call, the décor, ambiance, and overall set-up of the stage, restaurant, bowling lanes, and multiple bars screamed dedication. Without a doubt dedication, time, effort, and a lot of thought went into building and putting together this state of the art venue. I am almost hesitant to use the word venue because in my opinion that word is so limiting, and in reality the Brooklyn Bowl is so much more than a top notch music venue, with amazing sound, perfect sight lines, and a great staff to go along with it. Luke Miller (guitar/keys) had this to add of his personal experience as a band member at the Brooklyn Bowl, “I enjoyed the Bowl. For a small venue there was still a decent amount of room on stage and a good sound system. And the fried chicken and nutella burbon milkshakes were icing on the cake.”

2014.04.16 - Lotus Stage_800x380

Night 1 (04/14/14)
Over the course of the three nights in Brooklyn, the Lotus faithful were treated to fifty different songs, with no repeats, which is not uncommon for this band. Song selection came from many different points of the band’s career and never really focused on one time period, or album. The first night, Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch, came out as a guest to play, ‘Opo’. The guys from Moon Hooch toured with Lotus for about six weeks last winter and their musical chemistry is a sight to see. Wilbur was able to keep the staple Moon Hooch squawking to a minimum, as he weaved in and out of the guitar driven ‘Opo,’ playing as if he was part of the band full-time. When it came time for his solo he let his soul shine, playing beautifully, accompanied by the superb bongo percussion of Chuck Morris. Next came the fan favorite, ‘Travel,’ which the band then segued into a rousing ‘Zelda’ riff, before going back into the remainder of ‘Spiritualize,’ putting the first set of the first night down in the books.

 

“When I said the guys from Moon Hooch came prepared I wasn’t kidding. They knew their cues and kept to them, showing those who attended that night exactly how they dug their way out of the subways in New York City to the stage of the Brooklyn Bowl.”

 

The second set saw the return of Moon Hooch, but this time both members brought their instruments on stage. Mike Wilbur and Wenzyl McGowen came out together as guests on both ‘Break Build Burn,’ and ‘Middle Road,’ and boy did they come prepared. Wilbur and McGowen20.04.14 - M.Wilbur_800x534 absolutely blew the cover off both songs and left the jaws of the band members and fans alike on the floor. Jesse Miller (Bass) exchanged looks of approval with the rest of band, as Wilbur and McGowen dueled back and forth on ‘Break Build Burn,’ taking turns playing solos while still staying within the structure of the song, never once letting it become a train-wreck. On ‘Middle Road’ things became a bit looser, but in the best possible way. Luke Miller (guitar/keys), Chuck Morris (percussion), Mike Greenfield (drums) all kept the funky beat alive, with Mike Rempel layering a guitar solo on top of everything perfectly, allowing just enough space for some sax-play. When I said the guys from Moon Hooch came prepared I wasn’t kidding. They knew their cues and kept to them, showing those who attended that night exactly how they dug their way out of the subways in New York City to the stage of the Brooklyn Bowl. The night continued with classics and rarities all played to perfection, and came to an end with a mind numbing bass in your face ‘Age of Inexperience’ that was without a doubt the best rendition I have ever heard, and bassist Jesse Miller knew it to.

 

IMG_5818_800x534

 

Night 2 (04/15/14)
Waking up in Brooklyn, NY on a Tuesday knowing I had 2 nights of live music ahead was like a wake and bake without marijuana. I felt happy and relieved that I no longer had to travel and the venue was now just a short 10 minute walk from the Hostel we were staying at. A sunny, crisp and cool day turned into an even cooler night, but inside the Brooklyn Bowl Lotus quickly warmed all of us up.

IMG_4821-4_800x533

“Each of the five members of Lotus are so well practiced and such dedicated musicians that they are able to pull out songs from their catalog and play them with such bravado it almost sounds like a fresh track”

In just its third appearance in 2014 ‘Scrapple’ was a welcomed opener for a set that would be littered with deep cuts, swirling segues, and some serious2014.04 - Lotus L.Miller_412x600 jamming. Making its 2014 debut the classic build and release of ‘When H binds to O’ is a track that diehards have always been pining after for years. The xylophone work of Chuck Morris was extraordinary in and of itself, but as the other four members of Lotus rallied around the lollipop shaped stick and tiny keys, they made its simple sounds serve a much larger purpose. Being able to bust a song out like ‘When H binds to O’ is a perfect example of the supreme musicianship of Lotus. Luke Miller spoke to me specifically about ‘When H binds to O’ and had this to say…“‘When H Binds to ‘O is a bit difficult mainly because it is in 9/8 time [musical signature]. It’s not necessarily super hard, but making it groove in 9 is the tricky part.”. Each of the five members of Lotus are so well practiced and such dedicated musicians that they are able to pull out songs from their catalog and play them with such bravado it almost sounds like a fresh track. New and added flares, plus maturing styles, make each and every one of the bands “older rarities” sound right on par, if not better, than when each made their debut however many years prior. Having this uncanny ability allows the band the freedom to mix in old songs with new ones almost seamlessly.

“But wait, it was not over there. As the boys held court to an all out funk dance party we were brought back to the docks on the ‘Suitecases’ we originally set sail on”

 

The second sets ‘Wooly Mammoth’ was the perfect breather for what was to come, but not before Luke Miller laid down a spirited, synth-heavy ‘Alkaline,’ with Mike Rempel showing off his guitar chops, which was just another example of his ability to change his style of play at the drop of a hat. With the show nearing its end, it was time to bring on the funk and to bring it hard. The band set sail on a ‘Suitecases’ that would segue into a late set ‘Slow Cookin,’ that gingerly slid into the beautiful funk machine ‘Sid’. But wait, it was not over there. As the boys held court to an all out funk dance party we were brought back to the docks on the ‘Suitecases’ we originally set sail on. The set ended with a ‘Different Dream,’ one of the cuts off their new experiential release ‘Monks,’ and they finished things off with an uplifting version of “In an Outline’.

 

 

IMG_4615-2_800x435

Night 3 (04/16/14)
Another crisp cool day in Brooklyn would have many fans heading over to the venue early to take part in some bowling and to enjoy the venue one final IMG_5991_400x600time. The final night of Lotus at the Brooklyn Bowl was sold out and it was packed. The first two nights you were able to move about the venue with ease from the front to the back, but not tonight.

Kicking things off with ‘Uffi,’ one of my favorite new tracks off the self-titled album opened the show. Jesse Millers bass groove had everyone hopping and moving to the beat. More quality set writing lead from a marching ‘Nematode’ into a sexy Mike Remple dominated ‘Spaghetti’. A thoroughly rousing ‘Bellwether’ then brought all of the members out to play. The boys shined as they made seamless time and structure changes throughout the song. With the final notes of ‘Bellwether’ ringing out through the speakers, the deafening screaming and applause from the sold out Brooklyn crowd let the band know that even though it was night three, they were not going anywhere.

 

“I like to think of band tightness like film lighting. People should only notice it when it’s bad. Otherwise I think tightness is just a means to expressing musical ideas more clearly.”- Luke Miller

 

One of my personal favorite songs ‘Grayrigg’ opened the second and final set of the 3 show run. Speaking to Luke Miller after the final show that night he said that “groove and timing” had much to do with a perfect ‘Grayrigg’  later expanding on that idea by saying, “I like to think of band tightness like film lighting. People should only notice it when it’s bad. Otherwise I think tightness is just a means to expressing musical ideas more clearly.” TheIMG_4783-4_568x600 technically challenging song builds and builds such a climax and brings about such raw emotion it would find its place perfectly in a movie’s love scene of two long lost lovers running full sprint into one another’s embrace in the middle of a crowd after having not seen each other for almost a life time. The show went on and the rest of the final set saw impeccable jamming with the band working like a perfectly in tuned steam engine, churning away tunes like ‘Lead Pipe’, ‘Flower Sermon,’ and ‘Umbilical Moonset’.

Keeping fans on their toes the band debut a cover of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s ‘Ffunny Friend’. The song was a bit of a odd choice and did bring down the excitement in the room a tad, but more so for the fact that fans I think were just a little lost. Having said all that when seeing a band multiple nights in a row not knowing what will be played next is half of the fun and needless to say they pulled off the odd cover choice anyways. In pure Lotus fashion the ever funkified and at times spacey ‘Wax’ closed the show, but the night was not done yet, not even close (Official Lotus After Party followed). After a short curtain call the band came out for a single encore, playing ‘Gilded Age’. The guitar driven unreleased track is a very thought-provoking emotional song that started a hug fest among the Lotus faithful. For many there was no better way to end what was an amazing three nights of music.

“On the flip side Lotus again can easily break it down with the best electronica out there, and what makes them one step ahead in my opinion is that they do it LIVE and with real instruments.”

 

 

2014.04.16 - Lotus Rempel_521x600

Looking back over the run it’s easy to see why Lotus is so successful right now. The quintet is able to blend all of the different types of music that seem to be popular right now. When they want to and with great ease Lotus gets right down with that dirty funk and could easily stay that way, but to keep you coming back for more they might just slip into a more guitar driven rock song.
On the flip side Lotus again can easily break it down with the best electronica out there, and what makes them one step ahead in my opinion is that they do it LIVE and with real instruments. Over the course of the three nights there we plenty of blissful moments of feet-stomping, trance EDM, and these guys know how to do it right. That is what puts them above the rest, and more importantly, it’s what will keep them there.

Editors note: Chuck Morris (Percussion) uses what is called a wavepad/wavedrum instead of the classic xylophone (lollipop stick) as stated in the review.

 

2014.04.16 - Lotus Disco Ball_800x551

IMG_4503-4_400x600

IMG_4554-4_800x408

IMG_4768-4_447x600

 

 

 

 

[fbcomments]

Festival Footprints © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Seo wordpress plugin by www.seowizard.org.
    Copyright Notices Email: DMCA@mailinator.com