What a magical weekend! Unreal musicianship, gorgeous, sunny weather, talented painters and other artists, friends, family, cliff jumps, floating penguin rafts, and of course, Disco Pizza! Summerdance Music Festival couldn’t have taken place at a better venue, or a better Labor Day Weekend. Held at Nelson’s Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville, Ohio, plenty of music fans flock to this breathtakingly unique oasis. Lotus captivated the minds, souls, and bodies of multiple generations alike, to come together, in a tribal-like unity and escape the daily stresses of the real world, in a truly enchanting place. This festival had all you needed – a place in the woods to camp with old growth-trees that provided ample shelter during the day, a beach to hang out on that leads into a water-filled quarry where you can take your time swimming or floating, relaxing on rafts during the day or find places to take a leap of faith and cliff jump. The Ohio Burn Unit provided expert fire dancers on the beach after the music was over, and of course, places to resupply and fuel up with some awesome food vendors.
Hailed by Lotus fans as a musical mecca, Summerdance has continued to surprise and inspire. This weekend was a special weekend for Lotus; drummer Mike Greenfield had a baby over the weekend, so who else to fill his shoes but their original drummer, Steve Clemens! Also filling in on drums was Jeff Peterson.
Playing two nights were the funky, dance-grooving, fun-loving four piece called Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. These guys are quickly gaining a huge following – to no surprise, you can’t help but feel like dancing whenever their sound waves interact with you. This year’s lineup also featured Particle, Broccoli Samurai, G-Nome Project, Octave Cat (ft. Jesse Miller & Eli Winderman of Dopapod), Luke the Knife, Genetics (ft. Chuck Morris), Eric Evasion, Sean 2:16, Thunder St. Clair.
Hidden in the forest was something truly majestic. If you wandered around long enough, you were sure to find a couple of unique campsites. At one campsite, Camp Excess, the hosts provided generators, mixers, lights, and PA systems to enable local bands and DJ’s to keep the vibes flowing during the day and when the main music was done for the night. Some artists from Pittsburgh, The Clock Reads, Shaq Nicholson, Wink, and Andrew Schillinger were among some to play sets at this campsite. Summerdance serves as a perpetual stepping stone for musicians and friends to interact and share their music with others, even if not on the big stage. One of the best things about Lotus is even though they are world-class musicians, every member is so humble and gracious. What a truly engaging, immersive, and inclusive festival.
Lotus has announced the second leg of the 2013 tour in support of the forthcoming album, Build, out February 19, 2013 on SCI Fidelity Records. To celebrate their biggest outing to date, the group drops a free download of the track â€œKodiakâ€ with Relix.
The first leg of the tour finds Lotus in the Northeast, Midwest and South including two night runs in New York City (Manhattanâ€™s Best Buy Theater and Brooklynâ€™s Knitting Factory), Atlanta (Terminal West) and newly announced shows in Richmond, VA (The National). Then, they head west to Arizona and up the California coast playing at such venues a Los Angelesâ€™ El Rey Theatre and San Franciscoâ€™s The Fillmore. The Northwest then gets shows in Seattle and Portland before Lotus heads to Utah and throughout Colorado. The newest dates end with what is sure to be a spectacular three-night run at the Boulder Theater.
Build propels through ten tracks with no wasted moments. Built on a foundation of beats evoking vinyl breaks, house, and big-beat, the album is a funky dance party from start to finish. The electronic infused 5-piece already kicked things off with the albumâ€™s first single, â€œMassif,â€ now streaming on SoundCloud. The unmistakable sound of a tight live band is at the heart of the album. Lotus has spent years rocking live crowds and that energy is distilled to a strong studio concentrate of body-moving beats and muscular melodies.
Lotus is composed of Mike Greenfield (Drums), Jesse Miller (Bass, Sampler), Luke Miller (Guitar, Keys), Mike Rempel (Guitar) and Chuck Morris (Percussion).
Lotus on Tour 2013
24- Burlington, VT- Higher Ground *
25- Boston, MA- House of Blues *
26- New York, NY- Best Buy Theater *
27- Brooklyn, NY- Knitting Factory
30- Syracuse, NY- The Westcott Theater *
31- Cleveland, OH- Beachland Ballroom *
1- Royal Oak, MI- Royal Oak Theatre *
2- Columbus, OH- Newport Music Hall * + co-bill w/ Keller Williams
The Lotus album Build, out February 19, 2013 on SCI Fidelity Records, propels through 10 tracks with no wasted moments. Built on a foundation of beats evoking vinyl breaks, house, and big-beat, the album is a funky dance party from start to finish. The electronic infused 5-piece kicks things off with the release of the albumâ€™s first single, â€œMassif,â€ now streaming on SoundCloud.
The unmistakable sound of a tight live band is at the heart of the album. Lotus has spent years rocking live crowds and that energy is distilled to a strong studio concentrate of body-moving beats and muscular melodies.
â€œThis album was recorded live to analog tape in studios in Philadelphia and St. Louis,â€ explains Luke Miller. â€œWe used live drums, guitar, bass, Hammond organ, upright piano, analog synths, live percussion, and live horns from the group Rubblebucket, then peppered in electronic elements. The project was mixed through an analog process to give it a deep richness.â€
The groupâ€™s previous release, 2011â€™s self-titled album, had Filter stating, â€œA kiss to you post-rock electronic creations, you make me dance, smile, and meditate through the hours,â€ while Drum! proclaimed, â€œLotus is so grab-your-nuts funky itâ€™ll have your grandparents poppinâ€™ and lockinâ€™ at a flash mob. Drop it at an impromptu gathering and go from zero to hero the same night.â€
A staple on the festival circuit in addition to capacity crowds at premier venues across the country, Lotus recently announced the first leg of the 2013 national tour in support of Build, the biggest outing the group has done to date (schedule below). The first part of the trek finds them hitting the Northeast including two New York City shows: Manhattanâ€™s Best Buy Theater and Brooklynâ€™s Knitting Factory. From there, Lotus heads to the Midwest then itâ€™s time to conquer the South including a two night run at Atlantaâ€™s Terminal West. Before 2012 comes to an end, Lotus plays two nights at Chicagoâ€™s Riviera Theatre, Mr. Smallâ€™s in Millvale, PA and two nights in Baltimore to ring in the New Year.
Lotus is composed of Mike Greenfield (Drums), Jesse Miller (Bass, Sampler), Luke Miller (Guitar, Keys), Mike Rempel (Guitar) and Chuck Morris (Percussion).
Throughout the latter part of February, Lotus, the five piece acid-jazz and electronica infused outfit from Philadelphia, began their trip into the land of made their way deeply south of the Mason Dixon to begin a trek through the south.
With the regard for electronic music being at an all-time high,Â the brothers Miller (Luke and Jesse), Mike Rempel, Mike Greenfield and recently reinstated percussionist, Chuck Morris, planned a more extensive southern run than any in the band’s history. Over the course of eighteen days (that are still underway) and with a staggering light rig in tow, the band scheduled fifteen stops. Obviously, this meant many stops on weeknights, something of which the quintet was seemingly carefree about.
The fact is that this band knows that they have something special. There are lots of DJs making music with their iPads and loads of bands out there melting faces with guitars. Lotus is doing neither one, but what they are doing hinges on both. This puts them into a category unto themselves and crowds are turning out in unprecedented masses.
Honest Tune was on the scene in Memphis at Minglewood, Birmingham at WorkPlay and Athens at the Georgia Theatre to provide different takes through four photographers’ lenses and three writers’ keyboards.Â
February 22, 2012
By Josh Mintz
Bill Graham had a saying about the Grateful Dead â€” “They’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones that do what they do.” While Lotus may not be the only ones who do what they do, it’s damn close. They proved it when they rolled into Memphis with their jazzy, rocking, latin-tinged electronica stylings and a light rig powerful enough to illuminate a blacked out city.
The return of percussionist Chuck Morris (he was on paternity leave) signaled the return of the Latin textures that sets Lotus apart from the other retread acts. He brings so much to the table, subtle sounds and drum beats that make the band great. Between his return to the road and the band’s ridiculous light show, the stage was set for great music at Minglewood Hall, and for the most part, the band delivered.
While the focus of any concert is the music, the light show is part of the experience (especially in the jamband world) and it bears mention. From lasers that shot across the pitch-black room to swirling bursts of color, the lights really added to the show, and the crowd clearly got off on them.
The band opened the show with “Suitcases,” and from the first notes, it was clear that the audience was in for a great night of tight music. Jesse Miller’s bassline was razor-sharp, and guitarist Mike Rempel delivered some of the jazzy licks that make Lotus peerless on the electronic music scene.
“Bubonic Tonic” was the first song that Lotus stretched its legs on, and it was a true behemoth, a runaway train of sound. Drummer Mike Greenfield’s staccato drum rolls powered the song behind the Luke Miller’s swelling synth notes.
As “Bubonic” neared what had to be ten minutes, the group seemed like they were just gaining the steam needed to power the monster, pushing the audience further and further, until there was so much tension that the room was about to blow.Â It’s what really makes Lotus great, the tension-and-release and group-mind that every band aspires to attain.
The tempo of the show down-shifted As “Bubonic” segued into an ominous-sounding “Dowrn,” a song that really illustrates the direction that Lotus has gone the last few years, featuring sampled vocals and gut-bursting synth-bass.
The band got back down to business as usual with tracks like “It’s All Clear To Me Now” and “Wooly Mammoth,” uptempo blends of dance-rock that were quintessential Lotus. “It’s All Clear To Me Now” was as huge as “Bubonic,” another tension-and-release animal that built and built until it exploded. Rempel’s crystal-clear guitar lines on top of the Greenfield/Morris duo had the entire room moving as one, smiles abound as the mega-watt light show lit up the room.
A bit of momentum was lost, though, as the band followed “Wooly Mammoth” with “Lead Pipe,” a song that was more electronic than rock…while the beats were danceable and the bass was heavy, the elements that make Lotus great are lost when the band shifts focus away from instruments and towards buttons, knobs, and switches.
“Lead Pipe” melted into “Shimmer and Out,” and whatever footing the band lost was regained. Jesse’s laid down a thick bassline over Chuck Morris’s percussion. “Wax” was trance-inducing, a workout of visual and audio senses. “Hammerstrike” closed the set, and the band walloped the audience with a double-encore of the anthemic “Disappear in a Blood-red Sky” and the breakneck speed and dual guitar of “Intro to a Cell.”
Lotus is a band with the potential to own their genre, if they’d stay away from the cliche of samples, a commonplace tactic for bands of lesser skill. The five band members have the chops to pull off greatness without the use of toys, and for the better part of the Memphis show, that’s exactly what they did. When they stick to musical instruments rather than electronic toys, they do what few artists can and all artists aspire to do – move the crowd to dance with reckless abandon.
Back to the beloved quintet days of old pre-Chuck Morris (percussionist) paternity leave, the band that once opened many an evening with “we’re Lotus from Philadelphia andÂ there is plenty of dance room up front; this is dance music” tore through the south, selling out or nearly selling out each stop. Providing testament to the fact that the band has come quite a way over the years and also in an act of true boldness, on this night, the ensemble set up shop at Birmingham’s WorkPlay Theatre… on a Tuesday night.
Not to get off subject, but Birmingham is also the home of the Vulcan statue (the largest cast iron statue in the world). In the early 1960’s, the torch that Vulcan holds above his head would glow green — meaning there were no immediate traffic accidents in the city –Â or red indicating otherwise. Later, it changed to indicate traffic fatalities. Now it stays the same color all the time.
Regardless, the point is that nobody ever knew what color the torch would glow and so is the case with Birmingham’s live music scene. While there is no doubting the fact that the Magic City has more than its share of patrons, predicting if they will support local bands in bars or larger bands in clubs is as much of a coin toss as it was to try and predict what color the big green guy’s torch would be back in the day.
To this notion, apparently Lotus said “fuck it” and marched into the city, nearly sold the place out (causing the band’s tour manager to comment “you guys sure do know how to party on a Tuesday night”) and had the place firmly in their grasp from the first note and drew upon that initial burst for an interweaving of a catalogue spanning setlist.
After a short but immensely impressive set by South Carolina’s The Malah, the dimming of the lights and thumping fight song like bass riff intro of “Scrapple” signaled the beginning of what would prove to be an incredible mind-bending Birmingham night.
Though the Philly boysÂ opted to not make a jam vehicle out of the number from 2009’s Oil on Glass/ Feather on Wood, what the number provided was an introduction of the players, with bassist Jesse Miller riding high while guitarist/keyboardist Luke Miller provided a an undercurrent and riff filamentÂ for the multi-cresting tides of the guitar work from Mike Rempel. Most of all though, it was an immediate example of what Chuck Morris adds to the band. Through a simply brush through the chimes or correctly placed bongo slap, his abilities coupled with those of drummer Mike Greenfield — and the aforementioned elements –Â take the discerning ear to places that many bands simply are not capable.
As the set progressed, Birmingham became acquainted with the retina piercing light show that the band has fully engrossed itself into. When taken in conjunction with the sounds from numbers such as a highlight of “Did Fatt > Shimmer & Out,” the lighting seemed to take the instrumentation to a higher place via the level of energy that was as frenetic yet focused.
Catering to the DJ loving cats in the house, something seemed to be either lost or the mass was just recovering from recovering for a moment duringÂ “Lou Carcohl.” Most likely a matter of song selection, things went off course for five minutes as the Lotus boat steered away from exploration and towards execution of a clear cut case of electronica — as opposed to the acid jazz (with electronica elements) that is the defining and quintessential Lotus sound.
Selecting the perfect way to come out of the electronic spell, the trance inducing and pristinely progressive “Blue Giant” and “Flower Sermon” followed. The crowd’s response to the faultlessly tight deliveries of the beloved soundscapes from the two markedly different eras Â (2006’s The Strength of WeakTies and Â 2003’s Germination, respectively) would have been made clear if no one had clapped, teach face in the throng telling the story throughout.
In the end, Lotus showed once again that there is no duplication of what they do. The only complaint one can ever find is in song selection and that is simply a matter of personal taste. The band’s execution cannot be questioned. They are as tight as a tick that is fresh off of a dog’s ass. Their maturation as a collective is like that of a fine cigar in a well maintained humidor and as a result of all of this, this band that would not set foot in the Magic City, managed to take it on and deliver a dazzling set to a nearly sold out house on a Tuesday night.
Maybe the Birmingham scene it isn’t such a coin toss after all.
Scrapple, Nematode, Uffi, Harps, Did Fatt > Shimmer & Out, Lou Carcohl, Blue Giant, Flower Sermon, Disappear in a Blood…, What Did I Do Wrong?, 128
Rolling into Athens, Lotus looked to continue the success that had run rampant in the south. It can be said, without equivocation, that success was found.
Packing the house to its brim, there were many who were left ticketless outside the Georgia Theatre that has seen nothing but massive success since its restoration from a 2010 fire that destroyed historic music landmark.
Steering from the one set formula, the band brought an extra level of heat to Athens, sandwiching the majority of the first set between “Spiritualize” and breaking out one of the band’s finest compositions in its tenure, the highly sought after “Umbilical Moonrise.”
The night — that adequately pilfered the extensive songbook of the 12 year old outfit — served as a perfect introduction for a brand new listener just as much as it did a spectacular celebratory showcase for the most seasoned fan.
In short, the Theatre was as alive as it has ever has been and words from fans exiting all positive, with adjectives such as “amazing,” “blissful” and perhaps the best of all, “orgasmic,” being used to describe the outing.
I: What Did I Do Wrong?, Spiritualize > Dowrn, Turquoise, Greet the Mind, Molluskunk, Behind Midwest Storefronts, Bubonic Tonic > Spiritualize II: Massif, The Surf Sid > 128, Umbillical Moonrise, Sodium Vapor, Jump Off > Zelda > Jump Off
Lotus returns to the road in 2012 in support of the recently released self-titled album on SCI Fidelity Records. The group’s live shows have become a staple among concert enthusiasts with the high-energy vibe and intense light show working audiences into a blissful frenzy.
Today, Lotus releases a new remix of the album-closing track “Orchids” by The Album Leaf (Sub Pop)(download). Jesse Miller (bass, sampler) explains how the collaboration came about:
“We’ve been fans of The Album Leaf going back a number of years. During the summer of 2010 we played 3 shows with the band and met Jimmy LaValle (the main mind behind The Album Leaf). His compositions have a unique ability to bring a very human and affecting element to music that is steeped in electronics. We decided he should remix one of the least electronic compositions from the Lotus album ‘Orchids.’ LaValle created a mix that combines the lush strings and guitars of the original with The Album Leaf’s signature approach to atmosphere and beat to create a track that invokes a sepia-filtered, cinematic nostalgia.”
Lotus’ self-tiled album garnered positive feedback across the board for its 11 tracks that range from hard-hitting funky back beats to expansive instrumental rock. Drum! said, “Lotus is so grab-your-nuts funky it’ll have your grandparents poppin’ and lockin’ at a flash mob,” while Relix stated “With a new and familiar sound that satisfies intellect and instinct, this album warrants its lofty moniker.” “A kiss to you post-rock electronic creations, you make me dance, smile, and meditate through the hours,” proclaimed Filter. (Purchase: iTunes / Amazon, Stream: SoundCloud)
Catch Lotus in the following cities:
4- Denver, CO – The Fillmore
14- Covington, KY – Madison Theatre
15- Grand Rapids, MI – Intersection
16- Goshen, IN – Goshen Theater
17- Chicago, IL – Congress
18- St Louis, MO – The Pageant
22- Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
23-Tulsa, OK – Cain’s
24- Dallas, TX – Trees
25- Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa
26- Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
28-Birmingham, AL – Workplay
29- Charleston, SC – Music Farm
1- Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
2- Nashville, TN – Marathon
3- Athens, GA – Georgia Theater
5-Orlando, FL – Beacham Theater
6- Jacksonville, FL – Freebird
8- Wilmington, NC – Brooklyn Art Center
9- Norfolk, VA – The Norva
10- Richmond, VA – The National
14- Amsterdam, Netherlands – Jam in the Dam VI at The Melkweg
15- Amsterdam, Netherlands – Jam in the Dam VI at The Melkweg
16- Amsterdam, Netherlands – Jam in the Dam VI at The Melkweg
13- Washington, DC- 9:30 Club
14- Washington, DC- 9:30 Club
16- Japan- Venue TBA
17- Japan- Venue TBA
18- Japan- Venue TBA
19- Yokohama, Japan- Green Room Festival
20- Yokohama, Japan- Green Room Festival
Lotusâ€™ transformation from organic, livetronica act to full-blown electronica collective is nearly complete. Album after album, the band has steered away from their jam-y origins into intricate dance music, and their self-titled fourth release finds the quartet even less human and more machine.
It suits Lotus well, though. Their smooth instrumentation has grown a strut and a skitter; hip-hop vocal samples emerge and repeat in broken tongues, and synths expand and collapse like a resuscitated lung. It is heavy at times, but distinct. Lotus are clearly growing into themselves. This is truly apparent in the brass bump of â€œBush Pilotâ€ which hits with anthemic, â€˜70s funk glory. The celestial sparkle of â€œThe Surfâ€ mellows with synthetic salt-water and sunshine, and â€œEvergreeneryâ€ brings Boards of Canada-style ambiance to life.
The band has grown into a tight, electronic unit drawing pulsing beats and passion from their instruments. This is an aptly-titled eponymous release; a self-defining classic and their best yet. This is Lotus in full bloom.
Lotus drops its new, self-titled album today via SCI Fidelity Records. The fourth full-length studio album spans 11 tracks ranging from gentle, ambient grooves to pulsating beats accented with hip-hop style vocals.
Lotus’ live shows have become a staple among concert enthusiasts with the high-energy vibe and intense light show working audiences into a blissful frenzy. Today, the group releases footage from its July 2, 2011 show at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO (view). Shot by NoCoast.TV in front of approximately 8,000 fans, the video features the tracks “Behind Midwest Storefronts” (off of Hammerstrike) and “Blacklight Sunflare.”
Following several summer dates including performances at North Coast Festival and Outside Lands, Lotus kicks off a fall tour September 22nd in Boston. Catch them in the following cities: