Fayetteville, Arkansas has seen a lot of different bands in the past few years. Its electronic scene is growing, as well as its jam scene. And really, all of its music is growing. So it’s no surprise George’s Majestic Lounge chose a band like Lotus to play at their venue. The band has played at this venue several times, but never on the venue’s new, much larger stage. I’m sure it was a nice change for the band, giving them even more to work with as far as their light show goes. Before the new stage, bands were cramped onstage; and a lot of fancy lighting was pretty much a no-go. To be completely honest, shows at George’s Majestic Lounge are far more bitchin’ than ever before.
Opening for Lotus during their show on February 13, 2013, was Moon Hooch. A jazzy rock (or rockish jazz) group out of New York City. I missed their set, but I heard great things and I’m now constantly reprimanding myself for not managing my time better. Luckily, I was able to hear a bit of the band’s talent as one of its members, Wenzl McGowen, serenaded the small front room crowd with his contrabass clarinet. It was awesome.
In the back room, the crowd was getting their dancegroove on to Lotus. The set started fairly calm, with a combination of Hammerstrike, Neon Tubes, The Surf and Livingston Storm. As the room started filling with fans, the tempo rose and the band played harder. One of my favorite things about a show like Lotus’ is the ability of the band to create a whole new experience for each set. Although they’re playing the same songs, Lotus rearranges the tunes, invents new mash-ups and transitions seamlessly from one song to another. No matter what, you’ll hear something you have never witnessed at any other show performed by this group. As my friend David said, ‘I’m just going where they take me’ - which is really the best attitude for a band that perfectly blends each song, flowing from one moment to the next like the movement of footsteps.
The band’s set also featured a mix of Spiritualize, Down and It’s All Clear to Me Now – during which a girl I was standing by claimed ‘this is my favorite song!’ in reference to Down. They played an epic, 12-minute version of Livingston Storm, and ended their set with an encore performance comprised of The Oaks and Break Build Burn. During my double-checking of their set list, I was lead to their forum. There, I discovered you can purchase MP3 or FLAC files of the tracks or full show for each of the bands performances. Rad? I THINK SO! Do it.
During the performance, while observing Lotus’ light show (which is awesome) I began to think about a transition I’ve noticed with the rise of light technology as a large part of live music shows. It seems a lot of bands are leaving behind a personal, active onstage performance and substituting light shows. There are probably too many reasons for this to name like more instruments and cords so there’s less (safe) mobility, the ability of lights to create a performance/mood you could never imagine, it’s easier to play instruments when you’re not jumping around and causing lots of ruckus, etc. I think Lotus’ music has the ability to travel through you and you with it, so it seems there’s no real need for an active band, because the music is really where it’s at. That being said, I miss seeing each band member’s personality translated through an audience. I think Lotus makes the right choice in letting the music be the frontrunner, as opposed to the performance – if it has to be a choice. (If anybody has any thoughts on this topic, post them in the comments – I’d love to get other opinions on the matter!)
After I followed this thought-tangent to the ends of the earth, I came back and realized I was actually at a Lotus show and thanked the music gods for creating yet another band that can simultaneously inspire, provoke thought and rock your face off. Good job, guys – and thanks!