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Review Mon Dec 31 2012

Review: Lotus @ The Riv, 12/28

As a huge fan of jam bands, I often have reasonably high expectations of the set list diversity at a live show. I expect a band to bring something new to the table every time I see them play. Each show should be different from the last. I frown on artists that play the same songs at every show because simply repeating the same material over and over doesn't require too much talent in my opinion. This is exactly why I despise Top 40 radio. I may be a little picky with my musical tastes, but I certainly know what I like. And quite frankly I feel a little spoiled to have stumbled on some of the talented bands that I so closely follow.

One of those bands is Lotus. It's a five-piece instrumental group, amply labeled as "jamtronica," which continues to bend genres and create a distinguishable sound though a combination of rock and electronic elements. Their music has many layers to it, through the use of traditional instruments, distortion pedals and computer programs. Lotus has all of the important aspects of a great band: they switch up their set lists, they can jam and segue nicely into songs and they have interesting visuals.

They kicked off their official New Year's run at the Rivieria Theatre on Dec. 27 and 28, where they played some new songs in anticipation of the release of their new album, Build, on Feb. 19 and, of course, many old favorites.

The second show on Friday night was sold out, and as such, completely packed. It was a full house of people just trying to get down to some of Lotus' notoriously dancy beats.

Just before 9pm, The Werks opened the show with a hardy serving of rock'n'roll, slathered in some funky jam. The band's production of uplifting guitar licks and powerful percussion commands a dance party ensues. They brought it one step further when they whipped out a cover of The Talking Head's "Psycho Killer" and the crowd immediately began singing along as much as they were dancing.

Everyone in the crowd seemed a little antsy for Lotus to take the stage, in hopes that they would end their weekend in Chicago with a bang.

They came out in full force to continue the rage fest that The Werks had began. But the audience hadn't reached their maximum dance capacity yet, and Lotus made sure that they would help them reach it by the end of the night.

Early on they debuted "Deep Inside the Mothership," a new hip-hop heavy song that even furthers the diversity of Lotus' material. This first listen was more than well-received by the crowd.

For me, the most solid part of the show came at the end of the first set. Lotus whipped out "Bush Pilot," which is one of the band's best songs and thoroughly reflects their unique sound. Then they transitioned into "Age of Inexperience," a song that sounds more like alternative rock and relies much less on electronic elements.

Throughout the show, the balcony and the floor existed as two entirely different worlds. Everyone on the floor was standing elbow-to-elbow, and it only got more crowded the closer you got to the stage. But there was plenty of space up on the balcony to dance and a nice bird's eye view. Regardless of where you chose to watch the show though it still felt like you were baking in a sauna. Some over-heated people on the balcony sought refuge and fresh air by way of the open fire escape.

The Riv is a historic venue that has beautiful d├ęcor and solid acoustics, but fairly poor architectural planning otherwise. To the average person that I met on the stairs, the journey up to the balcony from the only bathrooms in the basement feels like a twisting mountain climb. But I digress. What's much more relevant is the down right dangerous organization — more like disorganization — of the coat check, which is also in the basement of the venue. After the show ended the line to retrieve a jacket was so long that it was backing up into the lobby/entrance, blocking the exit from people who were trying to leave, and in general creating mass chaos.

Though the entire show was on point, it is important to also take into consideration how much every aspect of the venue — the environment of the show — also greatly affects the overall experience. Waiting in a disorderly mob of people who are pushing and cutting the line because they are so anxious to grab their coats and continue their night elsewhere can really put a damper on how much fun you had when the music was still playing. This is why it is important that we all remember to be patient and polite. Not one of us is more important than the other. Let's make the best of a bad situation and next time, chill out and wait your turn!

Lotus' set list 12/28/12 @ Riviera Theatre:

SET 1:
Middle Road
In An Outline
Deep Inside The Mothership
Livingston Storm
Bush Pilot
Age Of Inexperience

SET 2:
Neon Tubes
The Surf
Arupa >
Jump Off

Cain & Abel
Intro To A Cell

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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