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Review Mon Apr 14 2014
(Photos by Brianna Kelly)
After a severe thunderstorm briefly hit the northern suburbs Saturday afternoon, the sun came out in full force and brought forth the most glorious day Chicago has experienced so far this year.
To commemorate the inaugural patio sit of the season, I sipped margaritas and munched on chips and guacamole outside of a Mexican restaurant in Lakeview. That was followed by a good old barbeque because it was necessary to take full advantage of the warm weather.
And then to top it all off, I moseyed down to the Riviera Theatre with a happy belly to see one of the funkiest bands in the jam scene, Lotus. The show started at 8:30pm to allow two opening sets before the main attraction. Electronic music blared throughout the lobby, as Daedalus played his last couple of songs.
We made it just in time to scout out a decent spot before The Floozies came out for their set. They got my attention, and respect, with the first couple of songs, which sounded less like the typical, mindless electronic music and more like respectable jamtronica, along the lines of The Manhattan Project. But after a while it started to get pretty repetitive, and I was ready for Lotus. Although they did recover slightly at the end of their performance with songs that incorporated samples of "Shakedown Street" and "Black Water."
The quintet jumped right in with a tangible energy that radiated throughout the first couple of songs. Since Lotus is known for spreading infectious vibes with their uplifting jams, fans who were seeking such kinetic feelings were not disappointed.
The momentum spanned from the first song, "Kodiak," all the way to the end of the hour-long set. Before the set break they unleashed a "Jump Off" sandwich, with "Mikesnack" in between. That combination of two of Lotus' best songs was undoubtedly a highlight of the show.
"Harps" served as the perfect segue into the second set since it picked things up right where they left off. This was another one of the tunes everyone in the audience was thrilled to receive. Then Lotus switched gears a bit and got a little funkier with a cover of The Commodores' "Machine Gun."
The colorful lights paired nicely with the music, giving people's eyes something to enjoy while their ears were taken on an auditory journey. At one point, the lights resembled yellow and blue slices of pineapple.
Of course, Lotus managed to include a few more crowd-pleasers before the night was through. "Tip of the Tongue" was clearly the fan favorite of the show, and probably of all time. No matter how many times you see them play it live, you still want to hear it at every show.
Most of the audience was faked out by the intro to "Golden Ghost," which incorporated a rapper on the track instead of the usual lyrics. The remix of sorts, called "Cannon in the Heavens," was fun because of the insanely powerful bass that tickled my ears, but it wasn't what I was initially hoping for.
They made up for that entirely with "Greet the Mind," another one of my personal favorites. It was the perfect Lotus heavy hitter to cap off the end of the second set.
The encore started out slow with "A Three-Legged Workhorse." People continued to dance although it seemed like most of the energy had already left the building. But fortunately for us, they knew better than to end a dynamic show with low momentum, and continued with "Bellwether."
The last time I saw Lotus was at North Coast Music Festival in September. Just as their set was heating up, a storm that was brewing in the area prematurely shut everything down. So I've been waiting a long time for my rain check. But the show made me long for festival season even more since you really can't beat an outdoor live music experience. Luckily, Lotus will return to the Chicago area next month for Summer Camp Music Festival, and there's no doubt in my mind that they won't exceed expectations.
Intro to a Cell
Break Build Burn
Jump Off ->
Machine Gun ->
Tip of the Tongue
Cannon in the Heavens
Didd Fatt ->
Greet the Mind
A Three-Legged Workhorse