By Ryan Cummings
Over Halloween weekend, costumed creatures were flourishing in Pittsburgh. From clowns to princesses, fans packed the venue in herds, eager to be blessed by the sounds of Lotus. With most of the set improvised, and an astounding light show, Lotus enthralls fans with their spiraling guitar melodies and synthesized dance beats.
Lotus has come a long way since their days together at Goshen College during the late nineties. In place of a DJ spinning records, Lotus takes electronica into the live music genre while integrating jazz, jam, funk, rock and other diverse styles into their instrumental mix. With one of their founding members back on tour with them, percussion pro Chuck Morris, Lotus has reached a new level.
They have breached the divide between rock and electronic music, concocting a new undefined genre that can only be categorized as Lotus. Through non-stop touring, astounding instrumental tracks and highly energetic sets, Lotus has acquired a loyal faction of followers.
On this fall tour, Keys N Krates has been holding down opening duties. Specializing in “ultimate live-remixing,” Keys N Krates combines three live elements; sampling, instrumentation and turntablism to remix existing tracks. Reminiscent of Girl Talk, the band teased a wide variety of popular tracks spanning all genres during their set at Stage AE. The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony,” “D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice, and “On To The Next One” by Jay-Z were just some of the tracks sampled. Their Blackout EP, full of new and original tunes, is coming out November 7th.
Lotus plays nearly 100 shows per year and they draw from a bank of 80 different tracks making each live set uniquely composed. The opening song “Bellwether” launches with a well-known melody and continues with signature driving guitars and robotic vocal effects. From the 2008 album Hammerstrike, “Bellwether” is a fan favorite and a brilliant selection to kick off the set.
Next, as blue and green spots illuminated the stage and “Bush Pilot” began with horns providing the background for the track. “Bounce, rock, roll, move,” are the prevalent vocals throughout the track. This song, off of their new self-titled album, pumped the crowd up just to slow down to the mellower, “Livingston Storm.”
Following the slow jam was “Non-Stop in SF,” a fresh unreleased track that was just recently unveiled at the beginning of their current fall tour. This song features lyrics and has an indie-electronic sound with screaming synthesizers and bouncy rock guitar melodies. In the middle of their set, instead a having a setbreak, they jammed straight through with “Travel,” “Sid” and “128.” With no break in between these songs, the non-stop, exhilarating dance party came alive, along with all three guitars grooving on stage. “Behind Midwest Storefronts” gently slowed down the pace of the set before the “Lead Pipe” into “Jump Off” jam. The encore was a vivacious spectacle fueled by wobble bass. It consisted of “Blacklight Sunflare,” the first single off of their new album and “Spiritualize.” Both crowd favorites left fans begging for more.
Beard o Bees, Lotus bassist Jesse Miller’s side project, performed the official after party at Club Café in Pittsburgh’s Southside. The after party was free with a Stage AE ticket, and the fans that attended were able to continue their dance party just a little while longer.
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