It has been a busy October for Flying Lotus. In between release events in Los Angeles and New York for the brilliant Until The Quiet Comes (which I reviewed and still haven’t stopped talking about), he has been joined by several high-profile friends for a nationwide tour that came to an appropriate end here in Los Angeles last Friday in the slick confines of Club Nokia at LA Live. The venue did feel a little incongruous with the forward-thinking music emanating from the stage all night, but try telling that to the hyped-up LA Friday night crowd. If the show had been in a morgue, it would still have been immense.
Firstly though, this felt less like a show and more like a mini festival. By the time I arrived, they were already on to the second act of the evening, with Jeremiah Jae displaying his own brand of dense textures and rhythms (his album Raw Money Raps is well worth a listen). He was the first of three acts of the evening celebrating the other side of Flying Lotus’s work, namely the Brainfeeder label and its high-quality output. Labelmate Taylor McFerrin displayed his own brand of beatboxing before Gaslamp Killer came on and did what he always does, get the crowd rocking with a set of real energy reflected in the tireless dancer of the man himself, who has become a local icon with his residency at the weekly Low End Theory night.
After a live band performance by Adrian Younge (producer of the forthcoming Ghostface Killah album), Flying Lotus himself took to the stage. Flanked on both sides by screens that together would form a truly trippy 3D visual show, the man with the biggest smile in the city got the place jumping as he slipped straight into the extraordinary beats of his own work (no one does more thrilling stuff with the beat itself than Flylo) interspersed with tunes from the likes of Clams Casino, the Beastie Boys, and others. He dropped the thick buzzing bassline of “Sultan’s Request” early on, and the ceaseless flurry of songs from all parts of his career was a reminder of just how good the man’s run of three albums has been, as well as how much his work has evolved over the last five years.
Highlights from a show like this are always difficult to pick out. Between the crazy visuals, the fluidity of the set, and the occasional spell of strobe lighting, the whole thing felt mind-bending even without the aid of chemical assistance (although there did seem to be a fair amount of herbal aid in the building). From a personal point of view though, hearing TNGHT’s “Higher Ground” and watching the place go crazy was the highpoint. On first hearing the tune, I remember thinking it needed to be played as loud as possible in a club, and it is the club anthem of the year to my mind, a crisp party banger with the weight of a heavy metal song. Irresistible stuff.
Most of all, there was an air of celebration about the event. Flying Lotus works so hard on stage but has the look of a man who clearly knows he does something amazing for a living, and he seems to be enjoying every second of it. There was a sense during the show from a wildly appreciative crowd that Flying Lotus may never be a chart topper, but those lucky enough to be in the loop know they are seeing something pretty special. This is music that can envelop an individual with headphones on a Metro bus or thrill a crowd, depending on context. It is both intimate and extremely inclusive. It was the kind of show that made me wish all my friends were at the venue with me just so they could see why I keep going on about this guy. They might have to put up with that a little longer after this.
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