It’s no wonder that Lotus has been playing together for well over a decade, has put out 12 studio albums, and is still going strong with an avid, loyal fan base. Their unique blend of rock, jam band, electronica and funk, combined with a great stage presence and charisma keeps fans constantly hungry for more. The five-piece, Philadelphia-based band has a level of live musicianship and chemistry when playing together that is not easy to come by. Their largely improvisational and dynamic sets flow from mellow and soothing guitar riffs and basslines to driving, body-moving rhythms, and often peak with face-melting guitar solos.
Lotus brought a flurry of dance party vigor once again to the Roseland Theater in Portland on February 21. Starting with a bang, they played an extra funky, rhythm-driven version of “Middle Road.” The band has perfected the art of pacing their sets with a slow culmination of intensity that builds and builds until it finally erupts at just the right moment. An epic version of the Legend Of Zelda theme song flowing into the classic “Tip of the Tongue” ended the first set, and oh did they take it to the next level for the second set.
Red, purple and white spotlights spiraled across the stage and into the audience as blue LED screens pulsated from behind the members of the band. Each song became its own unique musical journey through supersonic soundscapes, delving headfirst into interdimensional adventures dripping with fluid guitar sounds as rippling red lights transformed into rainbow explosions and crunchy metal guitar melted into screaming psychedelic funk riffs. Opening band Pan Astral’s vocalist Gabriel Otto joined the band onstage for a feel-good cover of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” (listen to another live rendition below or you can download the whole set here), and Lotus closed out the show with an encore of “Disappear in a Blood-Red Sky.” Especially in this day and age, Lotus’ timeless sound and fun, uplifting energy are a much needed breath of fresh air for any music lover or live music connoisseur.