On Friday, February 16th, jamtronica legend, Lotus, made its once-a-year appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area. Playing at one of the newest venues in the area, The UC Theatre in Berkeley, California, Lotus brought a two-set show that included career-spanning catalog staples, fan favorites, and the fourth “Drunken Giraffe” appearance since the song’s ten-and-a-half year drought ended last September. Leading up to the show, Bay Area Lotus fans were definitely getting nervous. Lotus was reducing ticket prices all along the Pacific Northwest to encourage sales, while some dates were canceled outright. However, while The UC Theatre wasn’t a sell-out, it appeared to sell well, and there were hordes of fans on every seating tier and with tons of room to groove.
The band kicked things off with “Cold Facts” before delving into a pair of bassist Jesse Miller’s original compositions, “L’immeuble”, which featured an extended segue into “Hammerstrike” from the 2008 album of the same name. Lotus dipped into “Faceblind,” a tune that debuted last year and has only seen appearances at larger scale venues—Summerdance, Red Rocks—and now the Bay Area for its seventh play overall. An older song that has seen sporadic play over the past few years, “Contagion”, segued into the fan favorite “Tip of the Tongue” from their 2006 album The Strength of Weak Ties. They ended the first set with the first 2018 performance of “The Invincibility of Youth”, also from Hammerstrike.
[Video: Must Have Media]
After a 20-minute intermission, Lotus returned with the highlight of the evening. A four-song sandwich began and closed with “Flower Sermon” from 2003’s Germination before tripping into the bustout out of the evening, “Drunken Giraffe.” Following the bustout, “Anti-Gravity”, from the groups latest release 2016’s Eat The Light, made for an upbeat dance party that featured a strong improv section back into “Flower Sermon”. Lotus slowed things down to plant “Kesey Seed” square in the middle of the set before turning things back up with the fan favorite “Sid”. A monster improv section floated the evening into “Umbilical Moonrise”, a moment which had the whole crowd enthralled, before ending the set with “Jump Off”. For the encore, the band opened with The Brothers Johnson classic “Strawberry Letter 23” before sliding into “Gilded Age”.
[Video: Must Have Media]
You can check out the full audio from Friday’s Lotus show, courtesy of Matt Moricle. You can also thank the author, Joshua Huver of Must Have Media, for the full video of the performance as well as the photo gallery you can peep below.
Setlist: Lotus | The UC Theatre | Berkeley, CA | 2/16/2018
Set One: Cold Facts, L’immeuble > Hammerstrike, Face Blind, Contagion > Tip of the Tongue, Invincibility of Youth
Set Two: Flower Sermon > Drunken Giraffe, Anti-Gravity > Flower Sermon, Kesey Seed, Sid > Umbilical Moonrise, Jump Off
Encore: Strawberry Letter 23, Gilded Age