• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • April 11th, 2018

    reCAP :: Lotus :: 2018.4.07

    On Saturday night, Lotus played The Capitol Theatre for the second time in two years. It wasn’t hard to tell that the band and fans were happy to be back in Port Chester. As the temperature steadily dropped, fans from all over the northeast scurried up and down Westchester Avenue. It was an animated scene of bouncing souls, littered with smiles and wide eyes for as far as the eye could see. Once inside, the theater gave fans a warm welcome that everyone was grateful for. Some friends saw each other for the first time in months, while others checked their coats and grabbed something to drink. The show was about to begin.

    Muscle Tough played a solid opening set, and definitely gained some new fans. In the days that followed, I saw multiple people post about being impressed by the opener. As an opening band, you always aim to impress the headliner’s fan base. I can confidently say that they did just that. By the time they finished, everyone was in the building and ready for two sets of Lotus.

    The lights went down and the band hit the stage while applause poured out from the floor and balcony. They opened with “L’immeuble,” and set the tone with a jazzy elegance that fit the room extremely well. There was more than enough space to dance and move around, while still being relatively packed. It was the perfect balance. They jammed into “Wax” with confidence, continuing the theme of that snappy guitar-driven jazz-rock. I looked around the crowd and saw so many familiar faces taken over by that classic Lotus glow. Looking back, the opening segment was definitely one of the highlights of the show.

    The other highlight of the first set was undoubtedly “Suitcases > Space in Between > Suitcases,” a classic Lotus sandwich that showcased my favorite jam of the night. The interplay between band members was driven and concise. Bassist Jesse Miller did a great job at quarterbacking the improvisation through his talkback mic. You could see him calling out the key changes, as the band followed, weaving in and out of them on his command. My only disappointment was that it didn’t last as long as it could’ve. But I can say that about a number of jams from my favorite bands. They ended the first set to roaring applause, and everyone was eager to see what they were going to come with for the final set of the night.

    By the time they jumped into the second set, the room had come alive. Patrons were buzzing around every corner, up and downstairs. I always love when bands play two sets at The Capitol Theatre – it gives off a different vibe that any music lover can attest to. They opened with “Inspector Norse,” a Todd Terje cover that has become a fan-favorite over the past few years. It almost always gives them a good springboard for dance-driven improvisation. This night was no different. It got the crowd going and touched on different emotions than “L’immeuble” or “Wax.” Some covers just really click with bands and eventually become staples in their song catalogue. I’ve seen them play it countless times and haven’t gotten sick of it yet. Out of “Norse,” they jumped into “Intro to a Cell,” which is more comparable to a song like “Wax.” It featured tremendous rhythm and percussion from drummer Mike Greenfield and percussionist Chuck Morris. Lotus’ rhythm section is phenomenal; Greenfield is one of the smoothest drummers in the scene and Chuck brings soulful sounds from all over the world. It was definitely entertaining to zone in on both of them during this segment, especially for a drummer like me.

    Lotus followed up that segment with one of their most beautiful compositions, “Marisol.” It’s not a song that’s used as a jam vehicle, and it doesn’t get the crowd energized, but it has a certain eloquence that captures one’s soul while the notes dance from the speakers. I can see how some people wouldn’t choose to put it in the center of a set, but I was happy that they played it. What came next was “Anti-Gravity > Shimmer and Out,” and I feel as though the band has been working on combining their new songs with their best songs of the past, this segment exemplifies that. The jam into “Shimmer” was interesting, and it was cool to watch them transition between two songs that are very different.

    After the “Suitcases” segment in the first set, “Contagion > Spiritualize” contained my second favorite jam of the night. “Contagion” isn’t the most popular Lotus song, but it’s one of my all-time favorites, and has the ability to launch emotional improvisation that is almost always memorable. This segment showcased the back and forth layers of rhythm guitarist Luke Miller and lead guitarist Mike Rempel. Luke is the main architect of Lotus and I love when he sits back and plays simple yet effective rhythm guitar. Rempel was locked in and feeling it, with solid playing and tasteful usage of his pedalboard. They came into “Spiritualize” on the same page, and ended the set with the rest of the band right behind them. Although it was almost curfew, the band was able to sneak in “Behind Midwest Storefronts” as their encore – a proper ending to another great night at The Capitol Theatre.

    I hope to see Lotus back again next year and I can imagine that the band and fans feel the same way. Most jambands that came up through the ranks over the past ten years want to headline The Capitol Theatre when they come to the New York metro area. At least that’s the impression I get from the bands that I’ve seen grace the stage. The theater is built for both the artist and fans, it boasts an atmosphere that is magical and hard to match. I always enjoy seeing Lotus in small clubs, but there’s something unique and special about seeing them in old theaters. You can’t fake or recreate the essence and history of a place like The Cap – it’s like stepping into a time machine with a one-way ticket to yesteryear.