During a pre-show chat I had with Steve Ellison (a.k.a. Flying Lotus), he explained that spontaneity is still one of the things he enjoys most about his live show. Hitting Metro last night while on tour for his latest LP, Until the Quiet Comes, he debuted a new live show, and we were discussing the constraints put on electronic-music performers when trying to incorporated synced visuals. In Ellison's case, the constraints weren't apparent as he freewheeled through a manic set of original productions like "Zodiac Shit," "Do the Astral Plane," "All In" and "Putty Boy Strut," and remixes that covered everything from Kanye and Jay-Z to Eminem.
If the team of VJs perched on Metro's second-floor balcony were struggling to keep pace with Ellison, they did a good job of hiding it because all manner of Tron-like halos, expanding and contracting orbs, starscapes and unidentifiable amorphous globs of color raced, shot and oozed their way across screens placed both in front of and behind Flying Lotus. This dual placement created a stunning 3-D effect that probably garnered as many ooos and aahs as Ellison himself.
Maintaining his free-form spirit as he snatched swigs from a bottle of Jameson sharing the DJ booth with him, Ellison chatted up the crowd throughout the show before taking to the front of the stage ahead of his encore to hype up his fans and take requests. Before heading down to the merch booth to sign autographs, he welcomed his labelmates and the night's openers Teebs and hometown presence Jeremiah Jae up to the stage to share a joint bestowed on them by a loyal fan. If that's not a spontaneous way to end an otherwise raucous set, I don't know what is.