Fitted wearing wooks and earthy hippie chicks lined Time Square outside of Best Buy Theater Saturday evening. Some smoked cigarettes, predicted set lists, and begged for extra tickets with index fingers pointed up towards the flashing marquee that read TONIGHT: LOTUS: SOLD OUT.
Zack Teater (22, PA) and Mike Kocsis (23, PA) were about to see their 30th Lotus show and discussed the songs they hoped to see, “I am desperately dying to see a Slow Cookin’,” Kocsis said.
“A three hour Mike’s Snack…then I’d be happy,” Teater responded.
Twenty-six year old Lou Rossi from NJ hoped to see every song off the album Nomad. His first Lotus show was October 14th, 2005 when they opened for Sound Tribe Sector 9. Rossi remembered that date without hesitation, “It was very memorable…I’m not going to explain why.”
Rossi’s friend Jenny Gill of Brooklyn added, “I’m just looking for like a nice sweaty time. I hope they bring it…The first time I saw them I was like ‘WHO ARE THEY? I NEED MORE!’”
More you say? Ask Lotus and you shall receive. The Best Buy concert was the 3rd stop of a 46 show tour; one of the largest tours in Lotus history.
Bassist Jesse Miller sat with Live for Live Music to discuss the start of the tour, “It’s nice to kick off a tour in the North East where we have a strong following…playing nice rooms and the crowds have been great…it’s been a nice way to start a run.”
The tour started in Burlington, VT and they had just come from Boston, MA the night beforehand. “You know, New York is just different than any other city,” Miller explained, “There’s logistical things like bringing a bus into the city can be difficult but once you are here and set up…just walking in and seeing the huge Lotus Sold Out on the marquee in Time Square is pretty fun. I always look forward to playing NY.”
And with an audience like the one at Best Buy that night, it makes sense that Jesse would enjoy playing here. Even with the dance floor stuffed with fans ranging in age, everyone was polite and apologetic. It could make someone forget that we were in foul-mouthed NYC.
Lights dimmed and the 5 man-instrumental-band took the stage and stood by their assigned instruments. Jesse Miller picks up his Mexican Fender Jazz bass and stared out into the crowd. “You see this big undulating mass,” he described how the crowd looks like from the stage. The synth hummed and Lotus started the show with the song Kodiak off their new album Build, set to be released on February 19th.
The crowd went nuts with beach balls, totems, and rail-ragers. Next song was Suitcases, and the band seemed to play effortlessly together with perfect timing. “I think what we’ve gotten from the last 5 years is maybe like a new tightness… like a little more consistent,” Miller explained before the show, “We know how to get to the places we want to get to easier. There are certain things, especially when working with group improvisation that really take a long time to feel out like understanding where people are phrasing and what directions you’re taking things when improvising together. We’ve been playing with this line up for 3 years and we’ve really locked into some things.”
Next two songs were Middle Road off the new album, followed by Bubonic Tonic (one of my personal favorites). Heavy bass got the whole room groovin’ and kept us moving as it went into the more rock oriented Hammerstrike, and ended the set with Age of Inexperience.
Set two started with Grayrigg from the album Oil on Glass/Feather on Wood and calmly brought the fans back from intermission. Next Lotus played an energetic Flower Sermon that went into a deadmau5 Ghost N Stuff cover then back into Flower Sermon. This is a very clear example of Lotus trying to attract the younger EDM crowd. But hey, I can’t complain. I don’t always enjoy deadmau5, but when I do…Lotus is covering it.
Next song was The Surf which every Lotus fan seems to love and I never understood why. It slowed everything down and the crowd swayed softly. The venue seemed peaceful, only for that moment. Dowrn was next… an odd transition going from easy listening to something hip hop based, but it showed the diversity in Lotus’s sets.
End of the 2nd set was the best part of the show. Plant Your Root was a great way to space the crowd out and everyone got weird. At the peak of the strangeness, Lotus went into 128…a fabulous way to end a Lotus show. The song 128 truly displays the variety of their musical tastes incorporating electronic, rock, jams, sampling and even bits of bluegrass. By the end, the hairs on my arm stood stiff as the boys walked off stage.
The encore was a quick 6 minute Bush Pilot. At that point, they could have played anything…I was more than pleased. The next night, Lotus played the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn and I watched the intimate show streamed live from my bed. At this point it is safe to say, I just will never get enough of Lotus.
Jesse Miller had this to say to their NYC fans: “Thanks for coming out. We’ve been playing NY for years, playing everything from Mercury Lounge to Bowery Ballroom, to Terminal 5. It’s been great to have the support to keep building it even bigger.”
Set List for Lotus at Best Buy Theater 1/26/13
Set One: Kodiak, Suitcases, Middle Road, Bubonic Tonic -> Hammerstrike, Age of Inexperience
Set Two: Grayrigg, Flower Sermon -> Ghosts N Stuff* -> Flower Sermon, The Surf, Dowrn, Plant Your Root -> 128
Encore: Bush Pilot
Download the entire show here.