Lotus, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY- 4/14-16
Photo by Michael Urban
Stepping off of the Megabus from Providence, RI, I felt a jolt of excitement run through by body, as my feet hit the pavement and the warm air brushed against my bare legs for the first time since last summer. On this unseasonably warm day I could tell that there was something special in the air and among the residents who live in this metropolis. It wasn’t until someone immediately bumped into me, without saying sorry, that I then realized I was in the heart of what many still call “The Greatest City” in the world, New York City.
I would not be spending my time in the heart of New York City, however. After a short eight-mile drive, thirty minutes in “the city”, we arrived at our destination: The Greenpoint YMCA Hostel, where my friends and fellow “Lotus Family” members would be sleeping the next three nights.
Having never been to the Brooklyn Bowl and being a bit of a venue connoisseur, if you will, to say I was thrilled at the opportunity to cover my favorite band for three consecutive nights would be an understatement. The venue was fantastic and unassuming on the outside—an absolute gem. As soon as you stepped, just passed will-call, the décor, ambiance, and overall set-up of the stage, restaurant, bowling lanes, and multiple bars screamed dedication. Without a doubt dedication, time, effort, and a lot of thought went into building and putting together this state of the art venue. I am almost hesitant to use the word venue because in my opinion that word is so limiting, and in reality the Brooklyn Bowl is so much more than a top notch music venue, with amazing sound, perfect sight lines, and a great staff to go along with it. Luke Miller (guitar/keys) had this to add of his personal experience as a band member at the Brooklyn Bowl, “I enjoyed the Bowl. For a small venue there was still a decent amount of room on stage and a good sound system. And the fried chicken and nutella burbon milkshakes were icing on the cake.”
Over the course of the three nights in Brooklyn, the Lotus faithful were treated to fifty different songs, with no repeats, which is not uncommon for this band. Song selection came from many different points of the band’s career and never really focused on one time period, or album. The first night, Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch, came out as a guest to play, ‘Opo’. The guys from Moon Hooch toured with Lotus for about six weeks last winter and their musical chemistry is a sight to see. Wilbur was able to keep the staple Moon Hooch squawking to a minimum, as he weaved in and out of the guitar driven ‘Opo,’ playing as if he was part of the band full-time. When it came time for his solo he let his soul shine, playing beautifully, accompanied by the superb bongo percussion of Chuck Morris. Next came the fan favorite, ‘Travel,’ which the band segued into a rousing ‘Zelda’ riff, before going back into the remainder of ‘Spiritualize,’ putting the first set of the first night down in the books.
The second set saw the return of Moon Hooch, but this time both members brought their instruments on stage. Mike Wilbur and Wenzyl McGowen came out together as guests on both ‘Break Build Burn,’ and ‘Middle Road,’ and boy did they come prepared. Wilbur and McGowen absolutely blew the cover off both songs and left the jaws of the band members and fans alike on the floor. Jesse Miller (Bass) exchanged looks of approval with the rest of band, as Wilbur and McGowen dueled back and forth on ‘Break Build Burn,’ taking turns playing solos while still staying within the structure of the song, never once letting it become a train-wreck. On ‘Middle Road’ things became a bit looser, but in the best possible way. Luke Miller (guitar/keys), Chuck Morris (percussion), Mike Greenfield (drums) all kept the funky beat alive, with Mike Rempel layering a guitar solo on top of everything perfectly, allowing just enough space for some sax-play. When I said the guys from Moon Hooch came prepared I wasn’t kidding. They knew their cues and kept to them, showing those who attended that night exactly how they dug their way out of the subways in New York City to the stage of the Brooklyn Bowl. The night continued with classics and rarities all played to perfection, and came to an end with a mind numbing bass in your face ‘Age of Inexperience’ that was without a doubt the best rendition I have ever heard, and bassist Jesse Miller knew it to.