L.A.’s Flying Lotus Soars in the North

photo by Timothy Saccenti

On a typically damp Vancouver day, there was an atypical energy that could be felt last Monday night. Flying Lotus, Teebs and Jeremiah Jae were in town and a great gig was just about to unfold. Considering the slew of dates on their tour prior to this point, the Brainfeeder crew arrived in Vancouver fully loaded with a well-polished live show.

Starting subtly and building gradually, a purple and blue mist floated through the room and set the tone for the night. By the end of the gig, the mist had subsided, giving way to the palpable, loving energy that filled the Commodore Ballroom.

Jeremiah Jae played to a half-full Commodore and worked his crowd tremendously well with his brand of vintage samples brushed over with stuttering high hats and long, dramatic build-ups that steered toward the heavy bass lines that rattled the Commodore throughout.

Next up was Teebs, a producer who is known for his more chilled approach to the dance floor. His transition from Jae’s set was seamless and continued with the rhythm that had been set before him. Teebs cranked the crowd up a couple of gears with crazy drum patterns and jungle beats before taking things apart at the end of his set and slowing everything right down for “Verbena Tea”, a track from his last album Collections 01; an audacious move by anyone’s standards as the track has a very slow-burning harp solo for the first couple of minutes. Once the thundering bass line kicked in, this slow, deep track set down the marker for the night. After a quiet period, Teebs had the crowd engaged once again, this time with even more intensity.

As Teebs finished his set, Mr. Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus took the stage. There was a brief interlude while his stage set up was perfected, during which he came out from behind the large white screen that covered the front of his workstation and saluted his adoring audience in a very warm and engaging way.

What made the night so special was the personal touch applied by Ellison – not only did he walk through the crowd at the start of the night, but he appeared on stage during both support acts. He rarely let go of the mic during his own set, stirring up an already ecstatic crowd. These consistent interactions drew the crowd towards him and made the set very personal without overdoing it.

When Fly Lo dropped “Getting There”, one of the standout tracks form his latest album and soundtrack to this utterly brilliant short movie, which was released prior to his album launch a few weeks ago, the night had well and truly taken shape and the effect from Until The Quiet Comes had truly landed in the Commodore Ballroom.

Lots of ground was covered through the Brainfeeder head honcho’s set. Ellison played songs from all three of his previous albums, such as “Massage Situation”, “Do the Astral Plane” and a rejigged, higher tempo version of “Tea Leaf Dancer”, as well as lots of fresher tracks from his latest. In addition, he dropped some recent big hits from fellow producers including Clams Casino’s “I’m God”, which went over exceedingly well with the Vancouver crowd.

On this night when the music was of the highest standard and bass-heavy, broken beats were delivered expertly, the only thing that could heighten the show would be awe-inspiring visuals; Lotus did not disappoint. Though they started faintly, the visual display built throughout the night and climaxed for Ellison’s set, centering around him and his spaced-out maneuvers. The display turned a great gig into a truly excellent one.

The last defining factor of this remarkable night was the high-octane, loved-up Vancouver crowd. They played a huge part in making this gig so special.

If only every night out was this good…