North Coast Music Festival 2011, Friday: Lotus
Lotus, a four piece band from Indiana, represented one of the mini-trends of North Coast: jam bands that play electronic music live. In their Friday night set, the band displayed an impressive command of a wide range of grooves—from reggae and disco, to metal and house. The rhythm section, comprised of Mike Greenfield on drums and Jesse Miller on bass and sampler, got the band locked in, but from there the songs would buckle under the weight of seemingly endless rounds of improvisation.
The crowd danced to the up-tempo numbers and head bopped to the slower ones, brandishing colorful accessories such as plush marionettes and teletubbies nailed to a stick. One fan of the band encouraged me to remove my ear plugs, telling me Lotus was going to “make love to my ears.” While the band focused on instrumental jams, surprisingly mumbled vocal samples were occasionally thrown in the mix. All the jamming reached periodic crescendos, which got the audience more involved, but more often than not the tension built was not released accordingly. Jam bands are rarely known for their restraint, and while Lotus have found fertile musical ground for exploration, their adventures meandered a bit before returning home to earth.