Lotus Fires Up FDR Park
Photos by Mike Mauger – Interview & Review by Kelly Wassinger
For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing the entrancing sounds of Lotus, they are an “electronic/rock” band whose wide-ranged audience has been growing rapidly thanks to their excellent live performances and their unique music.
Although they are considered to be an “electronic/rock” group by a number of spectators, their sound is not one that can easily be placed into a specific genre. As Jesse Miller, sampler and bassist of the group explained, “I don’t like to describe it, you need to see it live, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, there’s not really a genre for our music.”
I had a chance to talk with Miller before their show in FDR Park on Saturday, September 15th about their music, Beard-o-Bees, and more.
TSI: Since you guys are now split up between Philly and Colorado, do you find it more difficult to write and produce your music?
Miller: Actually, when we got to different cities producing our music became more efficient and streamlined. When we were all in the same place we would try to work together and rehearse unfinished material, constantly tweaking material. Now we work on it individually and once were together we rehearse it, so now it just takes a few rehearsals to get a song together rather than a few months.
TSI: I know you have a solo project called Beard-o-Bees, what inspired you to pick this name?
Miller: (laughs) It’s actually a long standing joke about a ridiculously over the top DJ, and if the DJ would have a name it would be, “Beard-o-Bees”, so when I started this project I had this fantasy that I would be that over the top DJ.
TSI: At the upcoming show at FDR, there are four other artists performing, do you guys ever invite artists to play with you on stage?
Miller: We rarely perform with other artists live. I know its something in the jam band world to have guests perform with you, but we’ve sort of developed our own unique system. There are already five of us on stage; we have so much going on so we really don’t need anything else.
Some of Miller’s Philly Phavorites: Johnny Brendas (Bar and venue), Kraftworks, Memphis Taproom, and biking around the city. Oh, and he roots for the Eagles.
Then came show time…
The highly anticipated Lotus extravaganza at FDR Park, this past Saturday, was proof that Lotus truly has a special place in their hearts for Philadelphia.
After putting on an incredible hometown show at Red Rocks in Colorado and rocking it at Catskill Chill, Philly fans wondered what was in store for them. Well, it was certainly more than we could ever ask for.
Lotus jumped off with “Bush Pilot,” setting the crowd into a wild frenzy of dance that continued well into the night. For those of you familiar with Lotus, you know of their uncanny ability to utilize a wide array of musical genres and transform them into their own. Although there are many reasons to see Lotus live, one of the reasons people always come back for more is the unpredictability of what will happen next. They may go from playing “Jump Off,” a jazzy-funk like jam into “Let Me In,” a more indie-rock jam as they did on Saturday night. Regardless of the genres present within their music, Lotus always manages to make it their own, a sound rooted organically and enhanced electrically, creating a musical flow that is unlike any other.
Attendees enjoyed a special treat from Lotus, when they performed a new song from one of their current projects, a hip-hop collaboration put together with help from various MCs. In addition to surprising everyone with something new, they also played an oldie but goodie, Spaghetti, a rare treat for Lotus fans to hear live.
Lotus gave Philly the hometown show they hoped for and more. Their energy, music, and visual light show was truly outstanding, and without a doubt left everyone wishing that night wouldn’t end especially after they bid us adieu with an “Umbilical Moonrise “and “Harps” encore, a very special ending to a very special night.
Unfortunately Lotus will not be gracing Philly with their presence this coming NYE (as many probably hoped for after their big gig at Festival Pier last year), they will be playing in Baltimore; so, if you’re looking for an extra special Lotus event, don’t hesitate to make the trip to Baltimore!