This weekend brought Lotus’ long awaited two-night run at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina. Touring in support of their most recent album, Eat the Light; Lotus brought out their full production, vocalist Greg Otto, and opener Higher Learning to help fans dance away the winter blues. Despite the cold weather, fans lined up around the block eager to get inside the Peel for a night with one of their favorite bands.
The band opened with an extended “Bellwether,” starting off with Luke Miller’s intense synthesized arpeggiators and vocoder. Diving into a synthesizer verse with Mike Repel on guitar, complimenting each other’s notes, the band was already firing on all cylinders. Next the band dove into a jazzy moment before bleeding into “Philly Hit” and “Inspector Norse.” The band then finished “Bellwether” on a high note, diving into an energetic final verse.
Lotus is known to dive into their deeper cuts and covers during multiple night runs, and this was no exception. To close out the first set the band enlisted the help of vocalist Greg Otto to cover the Talking Heads’ “Moon Rocks” from their 1983 release Speaking in Tongues. Starting off with an incredibly tactile and funky synthesizer segment, Otto began to find his stride in David Byrne’s lyrics.
A sentimental “Turquoise” got things moving during the second set, with its piercing synthesizers and dreamy sampled vocals complimenting Repel’s transcendent guitar. As fans flooded in from the smoking deck, they were greeted by Chuck Morris’ percussion and synthesized horns before diving back into the chorus. A soaring jam lead by Repel ended the song on a high note.
A standout 13-minute “It’s All Clear to Me Now” began to build the energy in the room. Based in the band’s older catalogue, this song is a fan favorite. Flowing in between ambient jazz segments and high energy guitar wailing, IACTMN left attendees breathless. This rendition featured a darker jam, seeming to follow in a late night Disco Biscuits than a traditional Lotus path. Feeding off the crowd, this segment bled into the chorus before the band ended on a funk fueled five minute jam.
The night’s bust-out came in the form of “Cirrus” off their 2006 release, The Strength of Weak Ties. Starting off in a downtempo fashion, the band slowly crescendoed into the chorus, featuring the xylophone and guitar in its forefront. While the song only lasted just over three minutes, fans were delighted to sway dreamily to this song before it dove into an energetic “Flower Sermon.” Closing with a near 15-minute song left fans in a frenzy and the band soared in and out of their jam segments. The energy and creativity behind Chuck’s xylophone solo made it a stand out moment of the second set, especially given the ambient section which followed. Known for its synth-heavy and playful back and forth with guitar, this extended cut left fans mesmerized.
Set One: Bellwether>Philly Hit>Inspector Norse>Bellwether, Blacklight Sunflare, Destroyer, White Light Fadeaway*, Moonrocks* (Talking Heads)
Set Two: Expired Slang, Turquoise, Living Storm, It’s All Clear to Me Now>I’ve Been A Fool*, Cirrus, Flower Sermon
*Gabe Otto on vocals