Flying Lotus is someone who is something like a cult following because he’s not all the way mainstream, but yet he’s not underground. People may have heard his beats (most likely you have), but there’s still that shroud of mystery behind him that makes his music that much more captivating. When it comes to his style, you can’t exactly place him under one umbrella genre, because he has a mass appeal that hits electronic fans & Hip Hop fans as a whole. There’s that EDM flavor with the jazzy flare, but can still make those screwfacing, hard-hitting beats that make you shake your head and wonder what’s going on. I’ve been a fan of his music for a couple of years, with Until The Quiet Comes being the first album I heard of his then I worked into Cosmogramma. There are differences between the two (I know he has more that I haven’t listened to yet, but that’s not the point) and it made it difficult to really gauge the sound that he’d bring to the table with You’re Dead, but given that it’s been out for a couple of weeks now, it’s one of the best to drop because of the different approach and a more jazz-induced feel that it provides. The only other thing that would enhance the listening experience would be to hear the beats live.
The way that I would describe the majority of Flying Lotus fans that were in attendance, were people who either just left the library or crawled out of their parents’ basement for the first time in 6 months. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but there was a blend of older and young (still over 19) that merged the hipsters with the eclectic youth (which are pretty much synonymous). The show opened up with a couple of DJs that utilized their turntables & audio nix and gadgets to get the crowd energized before Thundercat & FlyLo would grace the stage. One of them, JPS (who hails from Australia), had the crowd literally going up (*sigh*…on a Tuesday) with a mash-up of EDM with some Hip Hop, and he even snuck in some old school reggae. I appreciated that, but being that there weren’t many Jamaicans or Reggae lovers, I was just left to sway and hold my belly all on my lonesome.
I’m not an avid listener of Thundercat on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t listened to his music at all. Golden Age of Apocalypse & Apocalypse are dope albums, and coming handy with a massive bass guitar, which has developed its notable sound on many hip hop tracks as of late, Thundercat took the stage with a drummer and keyboardist, and proceeded to get to work. Speaking of the aforementioned albums, he dipped and dived into his catalog while the jamming session took place and all I could really do (besides two stepping with the smoothness) was watch in awe as he strummed the bass effortlessly and all three of them showed great chemistry with each other as it broke out often times into spontaneous improve that was both energetic and entertaining; essentially like listening to a traditional jazz record.
Tron Song, Heartbreaks & Setbacks, Lotus and the Jondy, We’ll Die, Mmmhmm (from Cosmogramma) and Without were the bulk of the songs that were performed, and he did it with true entertaining fashion, and the band as a whole collective made it enjoyable from start to finish.
Flying Lotus was the main act, and what grander way to display vivid music than by having a massive 3D set-up to have images following the music? There was evidence in this for the short movie that he had that accompanied You’re Dead, when he streamed it for 24 hours before the release. It was visually stunning how everything clicked together and the animation was pretty raw (this coming from someone who doesn’t indulge in anime a lot). FlyLo has an extensive amount of music to his disposal (not including his Captain Murphy tracks), so why not go through it? That’s exactly what he did. Obviously playing tracks from the album of the tour’s title (including singing Coronous, The Terminator), he also played stuff from UTQC and Cosmogramma. Zodiac Shit, Galaxy In Janaki, Getting There, and Sultan’s Request were some of the older ones, and he threw some beats in there that I really wasn’t ready for.
What he’s also been known for was playing unreleased music, and he dropped in a track with Krayzie Bone that sounded nuts, and he also played the ‘lost verse’ of Kendrick Lamar’s for Eyes Above, which I had been preparing for since I heard the snippet weeks ago. I’m still hoping that it’ll be released one day. He brought back out Thundercat, and the two went back and forth as FlyLo played beats and Thundercat freestyled over them. That was a cool moment, given the fact that You’re Dead probably doesn’t happen without Thundercat. The 3D images were really everything about the show. While the beats were playing, the light show along with the video was crazy. He came off of his platform, performed a couple of Captain Murphy songs (from Duality): Between Friends and The Killing Joke being the notable ones. The crowd was weak, I will say that much. Between the people attempting the crowd surf and mosh (white people – stop it, please), a lot of people were standing around and either it was the influence of drugs that held their gazes fixated upon the screen as FlyLo performed, or…actually, I don’t know what else it could be. FlyLo did say that it was a tough crowd, which is sad, because you’d think that there would have been more energy – I guess not. I enjoyed myself, along side my turn-up partner, Ellen.
Flying Lotus’ music is definitely more than just something to listen to, because based on the show, it’s more so an experience that grasps a full audio-visual combination to bring the music to life. For you to actually feel and see what’s going on. Thundercat’s strumming of the bass was hypnotic as he was moving his fingers quickly across (one person shouted out that he was like Jimi Hendrix), and despite the subpar atmosphere of Danforth Music Hall, it was a great show to be able to witness. Something I’d encourage anyone to do if he stops in your city. But until the next show,
That’s My Word & It STiXX