Lotus has enjoyed a steady upswing in their following over the past 5 years, a tribute to the band’s hard work and progressive development. Simply put, they just keep getting better. Their performance on 8/10/07 in New York City—actually, on the harbor, aboard The Temptress—was more proof of their ascendance as one of the premier live electronica acts. After their wildly successful concert last year as part of the Rocks Off Concert Cruise series, the promoters wisely brought them back again this year, this time adding an extra hour to the now 4-hour cruise—every minute of which was needed, as the band finally wrapped up the encore a good 15 minutes after the 3 AM docking.
After we finally got on the boat nearly an hour after the set boarding time, we settled in with some overpriced Budweisers and awaited the first set. (Note to Rocks Off: Making people wait for nearly an hour in the cold rain is not the way to garner positive feedback. The crew from the 2006 Lotus cruise was far superior.) Opening with a solid, if unexceptional, “Livingston Storm,” the band hit their stride during “Intro to a Cell” and segued smoothly into “Comptroller.” The first set was lighter on the trancey techno that characterized the band’s early days, as bassist Jesse Miller led them through some heavy funk territory and lead guitarist Mike Rempel embroidered the soaring post-rock jams (think Tortoise meets Explosions in the Sky and Do Make Say Think) with his tasteful, fluid lines.
The second set kicked off with “Tip of the Tongue,” the opening track from the band’s excellent 2006 album The Strength of Weak Ties. After sliding into “Lucid Awakening,” the band elevated the energy and roared through the second set without pause, with emphatic, climaxing jams during “One Last Hurrah” and Nematode,” and then closed the set with the ending of “Lucid.”
Lotus won a few new fans with their performance, and reinforced my faith in them as one of the few truly can’t-miss acts on the jam scene.