Concert Review: Lotus
By Mackenzie Gilchrist and Marisa Marlowe
El Rey Theatre (L.A.) & Belly Up Tavern (Solana Beach)
November 18 & 19, 2011
Lotus played this past Friday night at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach and we think we can speak for all who were in attendance when we say that the night was a success. Fresh from a show at El Rey Theatre in L.A. the night before, the Colorado and Philadelphia natives entranced the San Diego audience with their combination of electric and acoustic melodies.
We were lucky enough to attend both the L.A. and the Solana Beach shows and it was evident in the large turnouts that the band’s popularity in southern California is steadily increasing. The last time we saw them in L.A. in 2009 at the Roxy, they seemed to have a tough time filling up the venue, but this was certainly not the case this past weekend. Both performances brought in crowds of eager fans waiting for the unique Lotus grooves to fill their ears. As bassist/sampler Jesse Miller discussed in his interview previous to the shows, the group designs each individual setlist in anticipation of the crowds that they are expecting and they were on point for both nights. The show in L.A. felt intense, packed with energy and even a little rowdy at times. Some kids in the crowd were dancing so hard to favorites like “Spiritualize” and “Hammerstrike” that they looked as if they might pass out!
At the Belly Up however, the crowd was still gettin’ down, but the smaller venue provided a more intimate, laid back atmosphere. They opened with the song “Harps” (one of our favorites!) from their new self titled album, which got the crowd amped and grooving from the start. They played two long sets throwing in a few other tracks from the new album like “Golden Ghost” and “In an Outline” and finished with an explosive “Bellwether” encore. Although the atmosphere was not quite as boisterous as Thursday’s show, there was no lack of enthusiasm or movement among the audience, and we did in fact see many familiar faces from the night before. We are also happy to report a great turnout of USD students within the crowd, who appeared to take up almost the entire front section lining the stage.
With their growing popularity, Lotus plays at many big festivals around the country such as Outside Lands and Summer Camp, but it is a completely different experience seeing them at a bar when you can get right up close. They are the sort of group that is careful to make eye contact with as many people in the audience as possible so it feels like they are up on stage playing just for you. They also take the time after the show to go talk to fans and sometimes sign a few autographs. Percussionist Chuck Morris was even nice enough to give Mackenzie the Hawaiian lei he had been wearing for the show. Some of our friends were shocked at our willingness to travel up to L.A. for Thursday’s show and then again to Solana Beach on Friday, but in our opinion the only regret from the weekend was the fact that we were unable to travel to Phoenix to see them again on Saturday.