Lotus Lights Up Red Rocks
September 14, 2012
Well the first week of classes are over, and the leaves on the trees are beginning to change color as Summer fades away to Fall. With Red Rocks nearing the end of it’s season, the highly anticipated Lotus show on September 8th left little to be desired.
The night kicked off to a fantastic start at 7:30, as the Portland based duo Emancipator took the stage. Producer Douglas Appling and his violin-slaying cohort, Ilya Goldberg, played original down-tempo beats as the sun set orange beyond the stage. The quickly filling venue began to buzz as the two performers filled the amphitheater with soul-warming sounds. Their cerebral and eerie tunes carried the crowd into darkness, setting the tone for an unforgettable evening.
At exactly 8:30, EOTO took the stage in their magical lotus flower. This lotus stage setup is the brain-child of Zebbler, the 3D mapping mastermind who fathered “The Spongletron Experience”. Michael Travis and Jason Hann of The String Cheese Incident bring years of experience to the stage when they put on their “always live, always improvised” shows as EOTO. They have no set list, no pre-recorded samples.
Here’s how an EOTO set typically works: The duo begins a funky beat, as Travis picks up a guitar behind a mountain of keyboards and synthesizers while Hann supports with an impressive drum line. The sound slowly morphs into something difficult to categorize by EDM standards. Without warning they skip from a 115 bpm house beat to a teeth-chattering 140bpm d & b drop. Their quirky pop covers are always crowd favorites, especially when Hann decides to rap Busta Rhymes lyrics over an insane bongo solo that has everybody dancing.
Tonight was no exception when EOTO dropped Busta Rhymes’ “Dangerous” and Tupac & Dr. Dre’s “California Love”. Zebbler’s light show melted faces as the crowd got pumped for the main act.
After opening for The Glitch Mob at Red Rocks last year, Lotus fans were ecstatic to see the group headline the venue for its first time. When they reached the stage at 10 p.m. they didn’t waste a minute getting the party underway. Opening their two and a half hour set with “Harps”, Lotus took the crowd on a sonic journey that satisfied every desire.
“Hammerstrike” had the entire crowd on its feet and surging towards the front before the band segued into the soothing beats of “Bubonic Tonic”. The set continued in true Lotus fashion, alternating between jamming dance music and foot-tapping tunes. They got the crowd going again when they treated us to “We Are Now Connected”, the first time they’ve played the song in five years.
While some acts like to end a show with an ear-shattering track, Lotus likes to help the crown chill out after hours of dancing. The band showed some love for it’s home state when they played “Colorado”, before ending with the classic, “Spiritualize”. This was clearly the most anticipated song of the night, as the crowd exploded to its beat.
Lotus is a band that seems to get better and better with every performance. I’d be pleased if this blockbuster ushers in a long tradition of annual shows at the most breathtaking venue in the country.