Gig Seeker Pro



Band Rock EDM


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Lotus - Higher Ground Review"

Religious experience comes in many forms. There are those that believe this type of experience is only possible via one of the world's many organized religions. Simply put, these people are wrong. For many of us music possesses an extraordinary ability to uplift us to a sublime level of spirituality creating a wholly unequivocal religious experience that no church or synagogue could possibly rival. Few bands excel more in this capacity than the Philadelphia-based quintet Lotus. I knew from experience that Lotus' music is capable of creating uplifting and spell-inducing moments that seem utterly divine. When I walked into Higher Ground I was not merely entering some commonplace concert venue, I was entering the Church of Lotus, where the band were my ministers and the general admission floor my sanctuary.

There is a flipside to this religious coin, which co-headliners Perpetual Groove seemed to fittingly represent. Drudging through their meandering set often felt like those occasional dreary mornings when I was forced to sit through droll synagogue services where I found myself continually looking at my watch while asking my parents, "How much longer until this is over?" After seeing several PGroove shows, I have yet to quite figure out the appeal of these Georgia peaches. Though they put on a tight, occasionally very energetic performance, it was hard to overcome their devastatingly generic sound. Just about every tune seemed to be a tasteless reworking of hackneyed major scale and/or funk-rock progressions.

Bassist Adam Perry was the sole luminary in an otherwise dim cast, stealing the show with his deep resonating thumps. Sporadically it seemed Brock Butler (guitar, lead vocals) was onto something interesting, but a poor sound mix rendered it hard to hear amidst the other musicians. The set though was not without its highlights. "Digging in the Dirt" and "Teakwood Betz" offered some of the more glimmering moments. Most of the set however closely resembled any number of bland alternative rock songs played on the radio ad infinitum between 1995 and 1998. That being said, this was probably the best set I have ever seen by these guys, but that's not saying much. Higher Ground has a way of bringing out the best in bands.

Lotus :: 03.27 :: VT by Butler
Lotus kicked things off with the aptly named "Spiritualize," promptly re-sanctifying the venue. Their rich blend of jazz, rock, world, and dance music instantaneously absorbed the crowd, taking control of their limbs, tossing them in every direction. Mike Rempel gradually took hold of the song with his soft, caressing guitar tone. With good guitarists being a dime-a-dozen these days it can be hard for even the most talented ones to stand out, but Rempel's genuinely unique sound continually amazed me as I watched his limber fingers slink up and down the fretboard. Even when his normally crisp, jazzy sound was doused in effects, his distinct style of playing was thoroughly unmistakable.

All the members of Lotus seem to harbor a unique sound despite all playing rather pedestrian instruments. Brothers Jesse (bass, sampler) and Luke Miller (keyboards, guitar) switched back and forth between their respective string instruments and an assortment of gadgetry, creating a kind of amalgam of organic and synthetic sounds. When Jesse swung over to his sampler it was anybody's guess as to what noises would come out, while Luke's keyboards produced a myriad of timbres I had previously never heard before going to a Lotus show.

Chuck Morris (percussion) and Steve Clemens (drums) were stunning over the course of the night. Morris did everything from providing worldly bongo hits to electric vibraphone solos on songs such as "Livingston Storm." Clemens showed off his diverse capabilities as well on the kit, playing beats that were straight up rock and roll on "Hammerstrike," while infusing the jovial guitar and bass in "Nematode" with a backbeat that closely resembled hip-hop, leading to a mix that sounded like The Grateful Dead if they'd been produced by Dr. Dre.

Hammerstrike's "Age of Inexperience" contained a foray into the full extent of Lotus' dance music influence. An authoritative bass, unusually synthetic timbres and a pounding beat accompanied by strobe lights made the place feel like a rave. But, there was no thieving DJ standing complacently inside a little booth – this music was being pumped out by the blood and sweat of authentic musicians.

One of my favorite aspects of Lotus concerts has always been the light show that accompanies the music. Throughout the night the lights closely mimicked the aesthetic of the music. When the music became jubilant the lights would turn a bright red or yellow casting glory onto the whole audience. But, when the music took on a more ominous feel, the lights would dim, leaving only flickers of dark purple or green crawling across the room.

Lotus :: 03.27 :: VT by Butler
The set ended with Lotus delivering their "Flower Sermon" sandwiched between two halves of "Sunrain." Roughly 2,500 years ago, Buddha delivered the wordless Flower Sermon to his disciple by presenting him with a lotus flower, thus transmitting the ineffable key to nirvana. That lotus flower evidently was reincarnated in the form of a five-piece instrumental dance-fusion band from Philadelphia several millennia later. Over the years, "Flower Sermon" has developed into one of their tightest and most riveting numbers. The gradual escalation the song begins with creates an aura of anticipation, but just as an explosion seems imminent the bottom drops out, leaving only a short lick from Rempel's crisp guitar. That lick subsequently swells into an energetic explosion finally fulfilling your expectations. Essentially, the song feels like it was modeled after one of those roller coasters where the car stops for a split second right before the initial drop, leaving you teetering in limbo for what feels like an eternity. Just when you think all anticipation has been shattered, the car lets loose, barreling down the sheer drop at 90 miles per hour.

The band snaked along a track of peaks and valleys, with the occasional loop de loop and spiral helix thrown in, until the car unhinged from the tracks and shot off into the stratosphere upon the seamless transition back into the ending of "Sunrain." A look of supreme bliss seemed to have spread onto every face as they basked in the "Sunrain."

Finally, an encore of "Jump Off" led the congregation to the auditory Promised Land. Thanks to Lotus, Burlington's Higher Ground, in the most religious sense, had literally become higher ground. An immaculate evening from Lotus gave us all the spiritual uplifting humans so desperately crave. Every Lotus show I venture to seems to be exponentially better than the last one. In my opinion, these guys have become one of the best live acts out there today. I know not if there is a God, but if he (or she) does exist, he/she would probably listen to Lotus.

Lotus :: 03.27.09 :: Higher Ground :: Burlington, VT
Spiritualize, Tarasque, Age of Inexperience > Juggernaut > Age of Inexperience, Hammerstrike, Livingston Storm, Invincibility of Youth, Dane Jeer Us, Nematode, Sunrain > Flower Sermon > Sunrain
E: Jump Off

Lotus is on tour now, dates available here. Perpetual Groove is also on tour, dates here.

JamBase | Bending The Lord's Ear
Go See Live Music! - Jambase

"Hammerstrike Review"

On its third studio album, Lotus continues to come off as a mixture of disparate influences. The instrumental quintet (there are some occasional desultory vocals, mostly contributed by guests) often recalls the sound of Neil Young & Crazy Horse (particularly on the opening track, "Behind Midwest Storefronts," and on "Invincibility of Youth"), as a stinging guitar, presumably the one played by Mike Rempel, leads the way through meandering melodies and the rhythm section lurches along behind. But then there are the electronic influences, apparent on such tracks as "Age of Inexperience," which recalls Pere Ubu and Devo, and "Bellwether," which reveals that somebody's been listening to Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." Classic grunge rock, angular new wave, and electronic dance-rock are not styles many people would try to mix, nor are they ones many would be likely to enjoy in the same set, but Lotus manages to make all of it work, at least for the length of the disc. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide - All Music Guide / MSN Music

"Hammerstrike Review"

Lotus have always occupied a nebulous place in the instrumental rock world. They’re not quite post-rock, although their long, building pieces almost make them a funkier Explosions in the Sky. Nor do their electronic tendencies fit in well with the jam-band scene—as prone to improvisation as they may be, these guys cull little of their influence from Phish or The Dead. But after seven years of making their own way, it’s seems that Lotus are tired of being alone: their latest release, Hammerstrike, continues the trend started by 2006’s The Strength of Weak Ties toward more traditional rock structures elements, to good effect and bad.

Certainly this album is more focused than any of their previous releases. On their live albums Lotus usually stretched songs out past the 15-minute mark, and even on their first two studio albums it was rare for a track to clock in at fewer than eight. But no song on Hammerstrike runs much longer than six minutes, and their relative brevity works in the band’s favor—no song overstays its welcome, and each one is crammed full of musical ideas.

But the big change on Hammerstrike isn’t musical at all: while a good half of the songs here are straight instrumentals, the other half are—for the first time—accompanied by lyrics. And it’s here that the band gets into a bit of trouble. The problem doesn’t spring so much from the inclusion of words as the words themselves. Bad lyrics are, of course, rather more prevalent than good lyrics in rock music, and for the type of music that Lotus makes, it might seem that what they’re saying doesn’t actually much matter. After all, nobody gives Daft Punk any grief for building a whole song around “One more time / we’re going to celebrate”. (Well, nobody worth listening to, anyway.)

But the very fact that Lotus has added lyrics to their music after being a purely instrumental band for so long suggests that there’s something in these lyrics that’s important for us to hear—that, indeed, the band felt that their sound on this disc was not complete without them. And in no place did I understand why the words are important at all. “Out with the old / in with the new / lets hit refresh / and start anew” sings a robotic voice during “Bellwether”, before moving into a muttered verse in which only the occasional phrase ("Cajun analyst”, “breakdown mama mama") is even intelligible. (As a side note, I’d like very much for bands to stop with the intentionally inaudible lyrics. I’m looking at you, Battles.) Later in the disc, on “Modicum”, a more traditional singer croons, “You came / to me / took my hand and / pulled up!”, and the triumphant mood is spoiled somewhat by the complete lack of context.

All this is made even more frustrating by the strength of the music itself throughout, and the instrumental tracks rank among the best Lotus have ever done. “Behind Midwest Storefronts”, the opener, combines a fuzzy, powerful bass with a soaring electric guitar line and some surprisingly moving strings. “Hammerstrike” and “One Last Hurrah” are funky, fun numbers, and the latter is particularly helped by a liberal dose of synths. And the album closer, “Disappear In A Blood Red Sky”, is four minutes of near perfection: dancing electric guitars, intricate drumming, and a lovely chorus of “oohs”. It is a distillation of everything Lotus were going for on this disc. It’s just too bad they insisted on singing nonsense over the rest of it. - Popmatters


Feather On Wood EP - 10/09
Oil On Glass EP - 10/09
Hammerstrike - 10/08
Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed - 11/07
Escaping Sargasso Sea - 5/07
The Strength of Weak Ties - 4/06
Nomad - 9/04
Germination - 5/03



Lotus is a five-piece band that has creatively fused electronic dance music with instrumental post-rock for eight years. The result is an explosive live show that has made crowds get down across the U.S., Canada, and Japan. Armed with a massive light rig and one of the most energetic shows on the circuit, Lotus proves why they have become a go-to act for late night festival slots.