Lotus

Tuesday • Madison Theater

Very few bands have successfully incorporated as many genres and directions into their groovy, improvisation-heavy Jam Band presentation as Lotus. For the past 16 years, the Philadelphia-based quintet has carved out a niche within the admittedly open and accepting Jam community with a fascinating combination of late ’90s Pop Rock, gadgety Electronica, noodly Fusion, raise-the-roof Funk, reflective Chillwave and positive Hip Hop.

Lotus’ last studio outing, 2014’s Gilded Age, was essentially a half-hour EP of relatively brief, organic tracks accompanied by four slightly lengthier remixes.


The band’s just released live recording, Unoriginals - Live 2015 (available digitally on the Lotus Bandcamp site as a name-your-price download), is heavier on the Funk/Fusion/Electronic end of the spectrum, befitting Lotus’ engaging sweat-and-swagger stage profile. As the title hints, Unoriginals offers a collection of non-Lotus-penned material. Of particular note are the band’s Afropop/Talkbox work-out of Shuggie Otis’ Soul classic “Strawberry Letter 23,” Electro Pop spins through Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” and “Crosseyed and Painless,” and a space-and-face-melting take on  “We Are Now Connected” by Estonian EDM artist/producer Mord Fustang.

While Lotus, which formed at Indiana’s Goshen College in the late ’90s, has released several studio albums over the past decade and a half, the group has also posted dozens of its concerts for purchase at LiveDownloads.com and has welcomed amateur tapers to document and upload performances on the web at no charge (there are currently over 400 Lotus shows available for free download at archive.org).

Like Phish and Gov’t Mule, Lotus is renowned for presenting themed shows, including “The 27 Conspiracy” (with the band dressed as and covering rockers who died at the titular age) and tributes to David Bowie, Willie Nelson, Black Sabbath, Post Rock, video game soundtracks and songs about robots.


LOTUS plays Tuesday at Madison Theater. Tickets/more info here .


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