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Where will they go next?

Miramar Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
Dec. 28, 2007
Lotus Lotus

Story and Photos by Matt Schwenke

In a year that electronic/ jam rock amalgamators Lotus released a live recording (Escaping Sargasso Sea and a remix album (Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed), the Philadelphia-based five-piece kicked off their Copy Paste Repeat tour with a sold-out night at the dancefloor-friendly Miramar Theatre, and had arms, legs, torsos and hair swirling bout the room throughout two satisfying sets.

Three albums deep into their exploration of jam-based rock and laptop-free electronica that borders the ambient prowess of their noted influences Underworld and the Orb, Lotus has expanded into delivering percolating rock in "Kesey Seed" from their 2006 release The Strength of Weak Ties alongside the blossoming elctronica of "Flower Sermon" from their 2003 debut Germination before delivering a much-evolved math-rock take on "When H Binds to O," which was most akin to the measured shifting of beats found on the remix album. A long run into the live nugget "Sunrain" ended the first set, and left a sweaty crowd on edge for more.

Lotus went back to their debut for the smooth-sailing sounds of "Nematode" to open the second set, and while their sound is usually a featureless blend of musicians, guitarist Mike Rempel was given a much-deserved spot to shine in the funky "Mikesnack," where Rempel unfurled deep and sophisticated guitar riffs a la John Scofield. Blending back to one amorphous production of sound that was occassionaly directed by a nod of the head from a very animated Jesse Miller on bass, Lotus turned the theatre into a club with a take on The Chemical Brothers' raucous "Block Rockin' Beats." An exceptionally smooth run of "Greet the Mind" and "Travel" into "Jump Off," all from the 2004 release Nomad, featured the tasteful touches of guitar and keys by Luke Miller and the fluid tandem of drummer Steve Clemens and percussionist Chuck Morris to end the set. And, an encore performance of "Spiritualize" took old fans back to the inspired performances at the since-shut down Thai Joe's venue and drew new fans in.

While the band's relentless touring, energetic performances and late night, dance-driven sets on the music festival circuit have earned them a strong fan base, as well as the relative spotlight of recent slots on NPR's World Cafe Live, the risk of performing a two-set show without any vocal lines was too much for some in the crowd. But, as the band begins to blend more emotional investment into their songs via lyrics, like they have started to on their more recent recorded material, there's no telling how far their music will take them.
Lotus Lotus

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