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Flying Lotus Review

Wednesday Oct 17, 2012.     By Jeff D. Min
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Flying Lotus is more phenomena than he is man. A passing monsoon that comes unexpectedly, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. No one knows at first what hit them, but the thought soon settles in, slowly at first, in its own incomprehensible way, then quickly—in the mind’s attempt to reconcile ignorance and understanding. He enters to applause. The Metro is packed. Capacity—from the main floor, back to the bar and all of upstairs including VIP. They came to see him. But they don’t. Not really. Flying Lotus is perched in a booth behind a screen. The separation adds a different dynamic to his set. The visuals come at a relentless pace, and the only attachment to Lotus is through the music. It’s cavernous inside, but still full of light. Just like he wants it.

photo: Jeff Min
photo: Jeff Min

The set manages well, never straying too far from previous performances. The thooming bass and crunchy, angular beats mark vintage Flying Lotus. He starts way back in his catalog. Brings himself up to speed to his newest. He detours with unreleased work. Drops a Dilla tribute. From time to time, Flying Lotus shouts words of encouragement to the crowd. He emerges from behind the screen. Two or three times he does this, connecting to the audience in visceral ways. First cerebrally through his music, then visually with the light effects, and finally physically with handshakes and smiles. He’s taking a comprehensive route. He knows that a beat performance is always on the verge of falling off a creative cliff, one hang-up and he’ll lose the crowd. He asks for a bottle of Jamison. Takes a swig. All is well.

photo: Jeff Min
photo: Jeff Min

Repeat said effects, and that’s the Flying Lotus show. He doesn’t let up nor does he extend himself beyond his understood path. Inebriated and high off the crowd, Flying Lotus goes about business as usual. Show is over. On the way out there’s a woman, twenty-five, maybe thirty-years-old. She’s uninterested and losing herself in the concert posters hanging in the Metro store. I couldn’t stay much longer she says. It’s too packed. He’s better at a festival. There’s no room to dance she exclaims, giving a wiggle. She’s right. But maybe she’s missing the point. Dancing is wonderful, and it’s almost certainly not opposed. But perhaps his intentions were different than hers. Maybe instead of a dancefest, Flying Lotus was trying to open up a different avenue of exploration, one where the senses take hold, but in a balanced, disciplined way. Maybe that’s what he was doing, introducing a subtle tutorial on how to properly listen to Until the Quiet Comes.


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