We are happy to bring you our next installment of Mojo Minute featuring clips from the Polar Plunge, Lotus, Zoogma, Earphunk, Truth, and a sneak peak of our interview at The Mousetrap with Reid Speed.
Expanding on a wide range of sound, Lotus is considered a multi-genre band incorporating elements of rock, electronica, jazz, jam, hip-hop, and funk. Formed in Indiana in 1999, the band has come a long way to find their sound.
Originally playing as a jamband, they leaned heavily on the sound of funk similar to Phish, Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead. As the band developed, their style gravitated toward elements of electronic music while still maintaining the foundation of a jamband. This style of sound is often described as jamtronic music.
Lotus has developed a devoted fan base by steadily touring and jumping on festivals like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Ultra, and Rothbury. Over the years Mike Greenfield, Mike Rempel, Luke Miller, Jesse Miller, and Chuck Morris have played countless shows across the US. Whether you are an old fan or new, Old National Centre is the place for you Thursday, March 5th.
Be sure to get there early as the opener will make it worthwhile. Turbo Suit, the band formerly known as Cosby Sweater, is making head way in the electronic scene. Indy locals David Embry, Nick Gerlach, and Jeff Peterson are celebrating their first album release under the new band name.
While the band has only been together since 2012, it looks as through 2015 will be another big year for the group. Touring with bands like Lotus, Digital Tape Machine, and Umphrey’s McGee, and making the bill on festivals like Aura, Summer Camp, and the Werk Out the band is hoping to leave Cosby Sweater behind them and head new direction. They recently released the new track “Hourglass” featuring ProbCause, streaming below.
Lotus & Cosby Sweater
Thursday March 5th; doors at 8.
Old National Centre
Buy tickets here.
Summer Camp Music Festival, Summer Camp, Scamp, the best freakin’ party in Illinois. Whatever you call it, it’s coming soon and firing on all cylinders. Taking place over four days (May 22nd – 25th) in Chillicothe, IL, it’s guaranteed to be hands down one of the best weekends of the summer. A days-long event of music, workshops, positivity, friends, and tomfoolery; in short, everything that a growing human needs.
If you don’t have your ticket yet get it soon because you don’t want to miss this. Keep in mind, though, that ticketing is slightly different here than at most festivals. A regular ticket will get you in for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Pre-Party passes can be purchased at an additional fee to get you in early for Thursday’s acts. Also, there are late night sets at the Red Barn for an additional cost. The other stages will still be in operation when it’s going down at the barn, so don’t fear. But, please remember that the barn shows that tickle your fancy will cost a little extra (for more on Summer Camp do’s, dont’s, and things to know, check out The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 1: In Our Own Backyard).
So, do you have your ticket(s)? The appropriate answer to this query is a proper, “No sh** dude, I’ve had my ticket since February.” Next is, “I just found a ride and snagged my ticket, catch you there!” The least appropriate… “Summer Camp?”
If you’re in the latter category or are just on the fence about shelling out the dough, let this article be an inspiration, if nothing else. Please come join the party. As a disclaimer, this writer does not make money from ticket sales nor will he if sales increase as a result of the statements contained herein, so please don’t treat this as a long-winded advertisement. Instead, please accept this as a friendly invitation to The Boogie.
Given five words, what is the best way to describe Summer Camp? How would one provide the utmost meaning and deepest imagery, without losing meaning on useless prepositions? How would one convey the feeling of Scamp, without wasting a single breath? In an attempt to provide the supreme explanation, the greatest rationalization, and the most scintillating justification, these words have been chosen wisely:
Alright, so 5 words may have been a lie. But, technically, they’re hyphenated, so it kind of counts. Regardless, and without opening an English book, one thing can be agreed upon. THERE WILL NOT BE A SINGLE MOMENT WITHOUT GOOD MUSIC.
To support this statement, here is a sample schedule to give an idea of what the weekend could be like. It isn’t an ultimate schedule for everyone or even anyone for that matter. It is just a possibility. And, as every soul is different, there is no right or wrong way to Scamp it, unless you don’t see who you truly want to. The sample schedule reads:
Thursday, May 22nd:
Blue Fruit Snacks (1:30p)
Cosby Sweater (6:30p)
Funky Junk (7:00p)
Future Rock (9:30p)
Manic Focus (11:00p)
Digital Tape Machine (12:45a)
Friday, May 23rd:
The Diggity (12:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (1:30p)
Victor Wooten Band (3:45p)
Slightly Stoopid (5:30p)
Robotic Pirate Monkey (6:00p)
Blues Traveler (7:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (7:45p)
Beats Antique (9:00p)
UV Hippo (10:00p)
The Motet (2:00a)
Saturday, May 24th:
The Floozies (12:00p)
Future Rock (2:00p)
Greensky Bluegrass (3:45p)
The Devil Makes Three (4:45p)
Keller Williams (5:30p)
G. Love & Special Sauce (6:45p)
Break Science (8:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (9:00p)
The Werks (10:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (11:00p)
Sunday, May 25th:
Umphrey’s McGee (1:00p)
Yonder Mountain String Band (2:30p)
Zac Brown Band (4:30p)
Trey Anastasio Band (7:00p)
Wolfgang Gartner (8:15p)
Trey Anastasio Band (9:00p)
Russ Liquid (3:00a)
To repeat again, THERE WILL NOT BE A MOMENT WITHOUT GOOD MUSIC.
How can one truly say that there will be no moment without good tunes when the stages will inevitably come to a close each night as the microphones and amplifiers are eventually turned off? Quite easily, actually, because Summer Camp curiously happens to be populated by people like… you. Guitarists, percussionists, singers, and composers. Producers, DJ’s, songwriters, and storytellers. Artists, hoopers, contortionists, and dancers. In sum, all of the ingredients needed for a “let’s-keep-this-sh**-raging-‘till-the-sun-comes-up” gumbo that just refuses to quit. Need some examples of how this could play out?
Exhibit A: The Dub Wagon. If you are reading this and the mythical wonder of The Dub Wagon is your creation, please accept sincere apologies for the impromptu name given to the beautiful beast that you’ve wholeheartedly unleashed upon us in years past. No offense is meant by the nickname if any is taken. Essentially, The Dub Wagon is a cart of sorts, piled high with speakers, lights, and all things that glow in the night. It has been known to walk the grounds, late at night, once the grip of darkness has taken over the campground. Growls, womps, and sub-bass can be heard emanating from within its depths. And, if you’re in the right place at the right time, it will come and catch you.
Described in a more straightforward manner, The Dub Wagon is a pushcart that wanders Summer Camp, blasting beats from the late night until the early morning buzz of chatter. Processions have formed, as they will again, wandering slowly behind like zombies, unwilling to give up on the night as they make their way through the camps.
Exhibit B: Jam sessions. Acoustics will be strummed and djembes will be played, hopefully to the accompaniment of a drunken poet and the occasional smiling soul. If you’re lucky enough, you might come across a DJ SOLO/Fresh Hops percussionist tag team jam. It’s happened before, and who’s to say that history won’t repeat itself?
All in all, Summer Camp is a tasty smorgasbord of music, workshops, and more. Whether is jam, folk, rock, house, dubstep, or bluegrass that gets your dance juice flowing, you’ll find it in Chillicothe. It will be a weekend tunes, dancing, singing, and drinking. A weekend of smiling, laughing, and love. Hugs will be had and good times felt. In short, it will be an unforgettable weekend, if only we can remember it.
North Coast’s lineup is always top of the game and they always offer some of the most-wanted headliners in electronic, hip-hop and jam scenes. North Coast was the only recent Midwest event to headline popular jamtronic East coast band, the Disco Biscuits. They also are the only recent Midwest event that has brought together all members of Wutang.
The cityscape decorates the background of the main stage area. The Dos Equis stage offers a rare sight in the concrete paradise of Chicago, green grass. The trees are ornamented with art installations that reflect the stage lights.
There was a slight overlap of noise between the stages, but festival designers filled these areas with vendors and enough port-a-potties that you didn’t have to wait in line more than 10 minutes.
Friday was shut down early then resumed at 8 p.m. with a revised schedule. I caught some of Paper Diamond, then explored the festival and watched part of Mac Miller, whose live performance was better than I had expected. The Disco Biscuits headlined the Last Stand stage with a psychedelic laser show that beamed shapes into the fog above the crowd and through the trees.
Saturday, I wandered vendors and ate a deluxe grilled cheese loaded with mac and cheese, smothered in garlic and delicious enough to make me crave another right now. I liked the vendor selection; I even met a hula-hoop vendor fairy who trimmed rough edges from the carelessly made hoop I had purchased online.
I stayed at the North and Coast stages all day watching Future Rock to Gramatik to Nas and finally Big Gigantic. Gramatik and Big Gigantic are the two main reasons I wanted to go to North Coast and being two of my favorite DJs, Saturday was my most anticipated day.
Sunday’s schedule allowed me to sleep in. Starting at 4:30 p.m., I was kept busy running between stages. I went from a heavy-trance set by Emancipator, crunchy dubstep by Datsik, a dance party by A-trak, and reggae rock by Rebelution.
The first time all weekend that I went to the Dos Equis Stage for my one of my favorite up-and-coming electronic pop bands, Cherub. This was the third time I had seen them all summer and their North Coast set was more DJ-mixer style, adding new sounds, rather than just the same songs from their one album.
Then I got to see Purity Ring live for my first time and into Wutang. I watched Wutang rally the crowd for a while then walked to the Last Stang Stage to see Lotus, only to be interrupted by an announcement of evacuation of the venue. Strong winds swept leaves through the streets of the city, but nothing stronger than a few minutes of sprinkles ever dropped from the sky.
Sunday night was packed with after-party options and I was grateful one of those was Future Rock and Lotus at Concord Music Hall. Even though it was a sold out show, my friends without tickets were able to find extras and we were able to get close to the stage with enough elbowroom to dance.
The venue felt like a sauna but Lotus’s set was my favorite act all weekend. Their rhythms spell my mind with bliss, forgetting the heat, arms in the air with a wide smile on my face. Their music evokes emotions but allows you to make your own interpretation without lyrics.
The new Concord Music Hall seems to be the new Congress Theater, which was shut down earlier this summer due to building violations. They don’t have strict rules for light up gloves and hula-hoops, but it doesn’t hold as many people. If you can get a balcony spot, you can watch over the entire show with an easily accessed bar behind you.
Saturday at the Concord, I watched over Disco Biscuit’s picturesque lasers from the balcony. But Sunday for Lotus, I had to be in the lights, and watching Lotus I felt like they saved the best for last to close out North Coast weekend.
Comparing North Coast to the other Chicago music festivals, I was reminded why North Coast is my favorite one. There are a lot of people, but it isn’t overcrowded. You can actually dance around with your friends, hula-hoop, spin poi, nap on a blanket, trade kandi bracelets and whatever else the festie kids do. It’s a melting pot of rave kids wearing their neon and heady kids with pins on their hats.
Thursday’s kick off party at The Hangout Fest presented a stacked lineup that arguably rivals the coveted Friday and Saturday timeslots. Conspirator, Lotus, Dillion Francis, Railroad Earth, Benny Benassi, and Umphrey’s McGee topped the list of performers that attracted a notable crowd to the first night of the festival.
Conspirator’s set featured prominent favorites from their Unleashed album. The highly produced tracks translated well to a live setting, foregoing the electronic texture in lieu of improvisation. Hangout attendees were not denied the band’s famous cover of “Brink In The Wall”, nor were they shorted on previews of new songs. Conspirator shouted props to their “very good friends” Lotus and encouraged everyone to stick around for their subsequent set in the Boom Boom tent.
Lotus was the perfect bridge between Conspirator and Railroad Earth, playing groovy electronica that dropped into funk when least expected and even occasionally ventured into experimental alternative rock. Railroad Earth’s jamgrass set offered the chance to relax and reenergize for Umphrey’s while others persisted to rage at The Boom Boom tent with Dillon Francis. It was a classic case of EDM vs. Jam for the headlining 9:45-11:00 p.m. timeslot as Benny Benassi played opposite festival kings Umphrey’s McGee.
Someone in the audience anxiously shouted, “Play the Daft Punk song!” as the lights fell and Umphrey’s took stage- requesting to hear the cover of “Get Lucky” Umphrey’s debuted at Stubbs on 4/20- but the band never obliged. Guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss encouraged fans to applaud bassist Ryan Stasik for his flashy orange, black, and blue plaid polyester pants early on in the set. Bayliss continued to disclose that the band had spent the past four days in the studio (!) and that it felt good to be playing outside. The set was a mix of old and new, pleasing fans to the fullest in the short 75 minutes they had to perform. They concluded promptly at 11 and were not permitted to return to the stage for an encore. Kudos to The Hangout for strict adherence to the schedule, but the non-negotiable closing time can definitely be a bummer.
The evening air at Hangout was warm, but not hot; chill but not chilly. The Letting Go Stage acted as the night’s headlining venue for Railroad Earth and Umphrey’s McGee, keeping kickoff party attendees confined to grass, concrete, and pavement for the night.
Tonight, The Hangout Stage will open its gates and welcome patrons to kick off their sandals and dance barefoot in the sand as they watch Kings of Leon, Passion Pit, and Jim James from the beach. Other buzzed about sets on today’s schedule suggest an even split between The Shins and Big Gigantic, leaving an opportunity for an intimate set with Anders Osborne in the 7:30-8:30 hour.
Stay tuned for more live Hangout coverage tomorrow!
Photos by Brendon Riha, RS Digital Productions
A busy night of music continued as I ventured toward Jake’s, a venue I had not previously seen a show at and the setting for Lotus to play on a frigid Wednesday evening. The evening started off seeing Dark Star Orchestra, but I hastily made my way over to the unfamiliar venue to see one of my favorite bands. I was quite excited to be treated to two sets of music by the group and once the music started my excitement built even more. Initially, the amazingly created and well-executed new light show quickly caught my eye and definitely added to the magic of the evening. Another special component of the evening was being treated with one of the most intimate Lotus shows I’ve seen thus far. It was truly a special treat.
Lotus started the first set with “Massif”, a track off of their recent studio release Build, and one which proved to supercharge the crowd from the get go. “Golden Ghost”, a track off of their self-titled album and one of my favorites from that release, proved to further energize the dance hungry crowd. Both tracks featured the booty-popping bass and dance inspiring synth melodic dance grooves with heavy rock sounds I’ve grown to love Lotus delivering. The heart of the first set featured the non-stop relentlessly hard-hitting rock dance latent grooves of the jam “Intro to a Cell>Triplet>Sunrain”. This concoction of melodically funky yet dark electronic dance music sending the crowd into a frenzy and leaving me bonkers, while setting the tone for the rest of the evening. The first set ended with a bang, featuring “Jump Off”, a fun and furious track further testing the limits of both the music and the dancing crowd. Euphoria had definitely settled in, leaving me and the rest of the patrons hungry for the second set to begin.
After a brief intermission, the second set began, and boy did it begin with a doozy. “Bellwether” was chosen to start and surpassed anything the band had delivered in the first set, which was surprising given the quality of music delivered thus far. Just when I thought my night had already been completed, Lotus blasted me with what was by far the best series of music I’ve seen them play in the six years following the group. This insane concoction of non-stop playing featured: “Did Fatt>Am>Lucid Awakening>Zelda Theme>Lucid Awakening”. They definitely tested the limits of the crowd with this dark and heavy dance rock jam. This was a very special treat for any true Lotus fan with “Zelda Theme” thrown into the mix. Also, I was personally bestowed with something special, this being my first time hearing the Zelda Theme played live. As a big fan of both Lotus and the classic video game, this was merely icing on the cake for the evening.
The second set neared an end and Lotus delivered one last bombshell, playing the fun and funky dance track “Tip of the Tongue”. I felt euphoric as the track test my dancing limits and made me bonkers. The band thanked the crowd and left the stage, leaving me for the first time joining in with the crowd roaring for an encore. After a brief moment, Lotus reentered the stage and began to play and encore which perfectly ended an already magical night of music. The encore featured “The Surf” and “Scrapple”, with the two track encore proving to be another added bonus to the evening. I must note, I have a soft spot for “The Surf”, given the notion that it is one of the few tracks featuring vocals by Lotus. It was a perfect end to a perfect two sets of music. Lotus is one of those bands that reaches deep within my soul and invokes a hungry fire from within. I truly love and respect everything they produce. If you are not familiar with the group, I highly suggest you find a show within traveling distance and go there immediately. Click here to check out more photos from the show
Written by: Alex Toy
Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images