Reviews > Shows
Lotus, The Opera House, Toronto, ON – 2/27
Photo by Ellie Dayan
Lotus touched down in Toronto for the first time, to share some of the infectious music they have been steadily building steam with South of the border. A half-full Opera House, buzzing with locals eager to shrug off the wintry vapors, was the setting for the Philly five-piece’s Canadian foray.
The suitably titled “Juggernaut” opened the show with an electronic onslaught, as the band set out to unleash its cross section of styles on the crowd. “Simian” followed, dipping a toe into the dub pool with a thick backbone and the first prominence of Mike Rempel’s liquid guitar work. The set picked up major steam when “Livingston Storm” dropped. A standout from Nomad (2004), the song breezed about the spaces of the room with its laid back vibe before building into more intense synth-driven territory.
The pace continued to rise, as the heavy thump of “Travel” gave way to a delicious dance-floor groove. The soaring peak materializing from this number resolved in “Shimmer & Out,” an extended offering for the jamband palette. Set one closed with Luke Miller shifting from keys to guitar on the well-known “Tip of the Tongue,” as twin brother Jesse pulled double duty on bass and pedal-triggered vocal samples. The first hour of the show alone was already a significant musical success.
The material from Nomad, Lotus’ most popular release, remained a focal point in set two. Though he spent the bulk of the evening tastefully providing acoustic percussion, Chuck Morris moved over to a keyboard for the lead line of “Plant Your Root,” a blissful dance ditty that also saw steady work from interim drummer Mike Greenfield. “Wax,” a live staple, provided the most diverse paradigm of the night as the song weaved its way from Fatboy Slim-like territory into deep house and an inevitable major key peak. No jam show would be complete without one.
In impressive fashion, the band saved the best for last with a double dose of Nomad fare. Set two closer “Spiritualize” stretched beyond the parameters of its studio incarnation, exploring a subdued section before closing out the set with digital euphoria. Finally – “Jump Off,” the lone encore, featured a funky jam that would make David Byrne proud.
Despite mistakenly referencing their “first visit to Vancouver“, Lotus made a formidable impression on the Toronto scene. The brothers Miller urged the audience to bring their friends next time as the band seeks to build on this beginning, and there is no reason to believe that a long road does not lie ahead for them here.
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