Review and photos—Flying Lotus at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, Nov 20 2017
– review by Taisuke Tanimura, photos by Pavel Boiko
Flying Lotus at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, Monday night.
Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison) gave a sold-out crowd a taste of the future with his “Magic” 3D show. From his love of anime and video games, to his album art, FlyLo has always had a strong visual sensibility. So the marriage of his music with 3D visuals was definitely something to anticipate.
Musically, his set consisted of bass-heavy grooves that lurched and sputtered in a million directions. His last few studio albums have been more subdued than his earlier output, so hearing him lay down some amazing beats was a treat. As is customary, he peppered pop culture references here and there. My favourite was a mash-up of the Twin Peaks theme with the Ghost In The Shell theme (the anime version of course). He also snuck in some studio cuts, including “Putty Boy Strut” (from 2012’s Until the Quiet Comes) and an excellent rework of “Never Catch Me.” The latter is his 2014 collaboration with Kendrick Lamar.
Despite the night being cold, rainy and generally miserable, the crowd was ready to get down and show their love. FlyLo lapped it up, making several comments on how much the support meant to him. At one point he mentioned that he woke up to a view of the foggy Cascades that morning and it struck him as one of the most beautiful things he’d ever seen.
Flying Lotus’ visuals lead to synaesthetic euphoria
I was somewhat skeptical that the visuals would be gimmicky. I’m happy to say that my doubts were unfounded. A dizzying array of material flashed on the screen. Images ranged from fractal tunnels to rapping skulls to a grotesque loop of babies with adult heads licking a lady tied up to a chair.
The 3D greatly enhanced the visuals, which looked spectacular from every angle. Throughout the evening I experienced moments of synaesthetic euphoria as the bass rumbled in my chest and the visuals overloaded my cortex. The group behind me couldn’t stop saying “Holy shiiiiiit.” This was about as accurate a description as any.
The bill included Seven Davis Jr, Little Snake and Tierra Whack. PBDY bookended the acts with stellar sets of beats and pieces. The opening lineup could have been a full show all by itself. Even though each of the artists has a distinct style, they do share that Brainfeeder aesthetic that is hard to describe but easy to identify once you hear it.