Jamtronica heavyweights Lotus are currently working their way through a 2018 spring tour, and the mini run brought them to The Capitol Theatre this past Saturday night. With a terrifically received set from psychedelic jam trio Muscle Tough opening up, Lotus followed for what was a strong showing that pleased a whole ton of fans in the Port Chester rock palace.
One thing Saturday night’s show affirmed is that Lotus are some of the best around when it comes to patient electronic jamming—the show delivered long-winded, focused grooves that, in gradual but grand feel, walked the line between security and exploration deftly. One the one side, the six-piece’s airtight beats were a safe, solid place that the guitar players and bassist could rest their colorful, appealing riffs on top of in a repetitive, almost hypnotic fashion. On the other side, the band kept both themselves and the crowd on their toes, always hinging on the front of jams to grow or change them into new directions.
As the funky “L’immeuble” opened the night up, things turned cosmic fast, with a wailing synthesizer leading the band in picking up the beat into “Wax” with great steam. These first grooves of the night met a bouncy, undulating flow with a sometimes sharper edge. Set one ended with a big, satisfying sandwich of “Space In Between” within “Suitcases and Sandwiches.” “Space in Between” showed in its jam an amazing percussive sync between drummers Mike Greenfield and Chuck Morris. While Greenfield hammered out a more direct rock beat, Morris pocketed around it with enthusiastic bongo and conga playing, and the pairing was just one of the many particular intricacies of musicianship to be listened closely for. Guitarist Mike Rempel hit the crowd with an awesome guitar riff at the end of “Between,” for a cool drop back into a very brief reprise on “Sandwiches” to close out the set.
This night at The Cap, especially in set two, displayed a far range of Lotus’ development as a band, as they dug back into older cuts while also powering through newer experiments. The band went classic in opening set two with an “Imspector Norse” and “Intro to a Cell” combo, followed by “Marisol.” They interlocked these older songs with the newer stuff seamlessly, so that the night was woven into one neat tapestry of jamming. Setlist creation is also something Lotus are particularly known for, and the way the band sweepingly traversed moods, from light and dark and back again, testifies to this.
The more recent “Anti-Gravity,” for instance, headed off the backside of set two with an awesome bit of glam rock, combining old school talkbox with terse, dance-ready guitar riffs. Although Gravity’s transition into “Shimmer and Out” was a bit rigid, the band supplanted themselves nicely enough in this next tune to coast smoothly towards a beautiful, celebratory liftoff. The crowd was whisked away on this benevolent peak, with everybody in the Capitol dialed in for the ride—there was an anticipation brewed up quickly, and then served just as swiftly with musically heady satisfaction.
“Contagion” found a chill respite, inviting a spacier section of improv that eventually saw the two guitarists and bassist soloing simultaneously in a kaleidoscopic feel. The jam following this displayed that mood-swinging greatness, as it funneled through a tension-tinged climax and rose into “Spiritualize,” which in turn re-delivered a bit of the transcendence of “Shimmer.” To a highly delighted crowd, the band encored right away without leaving the stage, offering “Behind Midwestern Storefronts” as a cool contrast to the power-rocking that filled this night in Port Chester.
Lotus’ spring run continues this weekend with two shows at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer on Friday and Saturday.
Article by Miles Hurley
Photos by Cian Murray
4/7/18 — The Capitol Theatre — Port Chester, NY