Lotus, Festival Pier, Philadelphia, PA – 12/31
Photo by Chris Paul
The cool and comfortable air at the Festival Pier in Philadelphia as Lotus hit the stage just at 10:40 PM this past New Year’s Eve was quite the contrast to the primal like screams emitting from a sold out crowd of about 3,200. Anticipation soared for the homecoming show – Lotus was moving out the Electric Factory and into a festival style tent, which after the band’s circuit of festivals this summer, served as a perfect background to sum up a spectacular year of cross country festival jumping.
The first set saw the band cruising through tunes such as the crowd-pleasing, bass-heavy, “Hammerstrike” , and fresh “Middle Road”, a song which not only exemplifies how well practiced this band is but also showcases that they are not afraid to take risks. The boys brought a ton of funk for “Grayrigg” segueing into Daft Punks “Da Funk*.” At this point there was no chance of things slowing while the band blasted right into “Shimmer and Out” taking them into “Sid” and then a wonderfully mind numbing “Flower Sermon”, which segued into Deadmau5’s “Ghosts ‘n Stuff”. Following the cover, the band returned to the rift catchy “Flower Sermon,” and finally closed out 2011 with “Shimmer and Out,” the very song that had started the blissful madness a seemingly short 25 minutes before.
After a short set break at midnight to ring in the New Year with loved ones and friends, fans poured out onto the pier where they were greeted with a generous fireworks display, so beautiful it made some scream out that they were thankful to be alive. All five musicians were bringing their A game, and the energy of the fans matched the explosions in the sky. We shuffled back into the tent for round two of Jesse’s funky bass lines, Luke’s experimental synthesized loops, Mike and Chuck’s ultra tight and synchronized beats, and guitar god and personal favorite Mike Rempel’s dance inspiring guitar leads. All five guys kept me captivated throughout the night, but Rempel’s infectious smile and warm demeanor kept me screaming for more.
Back inside the heated tent to start the second set the rowdy crowd got treated to an amazing version of “Bush Pilot,” a song that has really come into its own this year, sounding much fuller and tighter than it did at the start of the summer. The obvious theme for the night was electronica covers and that theme continued into the last half of the show with a cover of Justice’s “Phantom” which segued perfectly into a massive hard hitting “Dowrn.” Many were able to catch their breath with “The Oaks” and “It’s All Clear to Me Now” but both were performed to perfection as I looked around to a sea of smiling faces which I’m sure many were thinking that they could not think of anywhere better to be then a Lotus show to ring in 2012! “Nematode” kept things moving with funky beats, and the jam proved to be as hard rocking and in your face as it can get – a welcomed treat that left many in awe. Following the entertaining “What Did I Do Wrong,” to close out the show they performed the classic “Bellwether->Umbilical Moonset -> Bellwether” combo with Jesse Miller taking the bass reins dancing and moving about the stage while a spectacular light show sent us into a sensory overload. After the craziness of “Bellwheather” and with a 2 AM curfew approaching, many wondered if they would have enough time for an encore, but sure enough, off and back on they came to finish off with an inspiring version of “Invincibility of Youth” and the always fun “Blacklight Sunflare” sending 3,000 satisfied fans pouring onto the streets of Philly.