Words by Dan Petito | Photos by Anthony Abu Hanna
When you tell someone about a band they’ve never heard of, the easiest way to describe their music typically is to name a band they sound similar to: Creed/Pearl Jam, Slipknot/Korn and yes, the infamous N’Sync/Backstreet Boys tandem (you get the idea). It’s easy to say to someone with confidence if you like this then you absolutely have to listen to this. To think of a band like Lotus in a scenario like this is difficult – they really aren’t similar to anyone, and it’s only a small fraction of what makes them so darn good.
The boys landed at the House of Blues in Boston this past Friday amidst a gigantic winter tour stretching out through the beginning of April and, as usual, assumed the traditional Lotus position: locked in. The crowded scene outside the House of Blues rivaled that of a Red Sox home game, lines stretching all the way down the ever-narrow Lansdowne St. with the smell of sausages and steaks slapping you in the face from every direction.
‘Massif’ opened the show – a new tune off of Lotus’ upcoming album Build. It definitely packs a punch and seems to have a lot of great jam potential. Greenfield leads the intro to this one on drums and the song has a handful of pure head-banging moments that may catch you by surprise if you’ve been out of the Lotus loop for a bit (but pleasantly).
Speaking of pleasant surprises, hearing that this recent visit was being hosted at the House of Blues and not the Paradise says a lot about Lotus’ growing popularity in the Boston music scene. Their last visit to town saw them at a sold out weekend show at the Paradise, and now nearly selling out the House of Blues – a venue more than double the capacity of the Paradise – is very impressive.
An amazing set-list overall with a lot of variety is what made the show a special one. Lotus has been busy writing a lot of new material for the past year or so and spending just as much time debuting that material so their live shows recently have been a very interesting mix of old, new and newer. ‘Debris,’ among the ‘newer’ song category, slapped fans in the face similarly to the scent of the sausage and steak vendors outside. It’s a song with a real interesting peak that only flirts with musical elements not always constant in the typical Lotus sound, not a full-fledge genre jump – and it works…really well.
Outside of the newer tracks there were plenty of familiar ones, including a really cool segue from ‘Livingston Storm’ into ‘Harps.’ The second set was a lot more adventurous than the first from an improv perspective; the band chopped up ‘Bellwether’ into two parts throwing ‘IACTMN’ and ‘Shimmer & Out’ in between the songs beginning and end which was no doubt the highlight of the show. They definitely have a very mellow side, but with a lot of this new material surfacing and it’s collision with older material in a live setting, we are definitely starting to see a side of Lotus that has them pulling all the necessary levers to really turn the energy levels up across the board.
Overall the show was top-notch. Lotus is the kind of band that really does maintain a uniquely consistent live performance; a performance that has them taking chances big enough to wow but also small enough to maintain that level of consistency. After hearing a lot of this new material live, it’s great to see them not trying to escape their psychedelic/jam roots but, more importantly, building on them.
TheWaster.com | Boston