Words and Photos by Emily Stout
(Grand Rapids, Michigan) On just the second night of their month-long winter tour, Lotus headed for the west side of the great Mitten state. They filled the modern warehouse-style venue, The Intersection, with hoards of fans eager to see what the group had in store for them this time.
The evening opened with a showcase of Beard-o-Bees, Jesse Miller‘s solo electronica act. As one of the main songwriters for Lotus (with brother Luke Miller), it was nice to hear an even wider display of his many musical talents. The short break that followed was the only downtime of the entire evening – when the full band took the stage, they played one extended and energized set that lasted for over two hours.
One of the most thrilling features was that Lotus truly did have their full band on stage. Percussionist Chuck Morris has been back on the tour since he took a break last year following the birth of his child. While the band writes and collaborates from different cities across the country, it makes a noticeable and exciting difference to fans when they form a complete union on stage. Glad to have you back, Chuck!
Lotus has clearly been moving in an electronic direction, at least in comparison to their funkier and more organic beginnings. Wednesday’s set took fans on a tour of the band’s history, starting and ending with tracks from their more recent albums, with plenty of variety in between. They opened with Bush Pilot, a heavy track that gets a lot of depth from the hip hop vocals and the strong horn presence. Moving on to fast-paced tracks such as Bubonic Tonic and Shimmer led the group into a cover of mainstream DJ Deadmau5‘s Ghosts N Stuff. Later, they used Kesey Seed to melt the crowd back into their soothing organic and melodic roots. They brought the energy right back up by closing out the main set with Jump Off, a bubbly and technical track from their 2004 album, Nomad.
The Surf was a perfect choice for an encore track; it clearly demonstrates the versatility of Lotus by adding indie vocals to a building melody that can only be described as uplifting. You could feel the energy pulsing through the crowd as folks embraced nearby friends who also had the privilege of sharing in the powerful performance. It is upbeat, positive tracks such as The Surf that hook listeners and keep them coming back show after show, city after city.
Stay tuned as this dedicated fan follows Lotus to The Congress Theater in Chicago…!
Setlist, via facebook.com/lotusvibes
Bush Pilot, Middle Road, Bubonic -> Shimmer -> Ghosts N’ Stuff* -> Shimmer, Sodium Vapor^, Lead Pipe -> Greet the Mind, Kesey Seed, It’s All Clear -> Jump Off Encore: Cain & Abel, The Surf, Scrapple