Review – Flying Lotus at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Oct. 22 2012
– by Brendan Fairweather
Originally slated for the smaller confines of Fortune Sound Club, Flying Lotus needed a bigger a venue to satisfy his surprisingly large Vancouver fan base. On Monday, Oct 22, the Commodore Ballroom overflowed with a rowdy crowd eager to vibe out to the acclaimed producer/DJ’s upcoming performance.
Openers Jeremiah Jae and Teebs hyped up the audience for a long night of head-knocking beats.
Jae, a Chicago-based DJ/MC, alternated between mixing records and picking up the mic to rap a verse or two at random intervals throughout the set. Teebs, also from L.A., was up next mixing hip-hop, and predominantly bass heavy instrumentals. As his set came to an end, he picked up the tempo and pitched the crowd into a frenzy.
Just before 11:30 Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, began his high-energy performance, igniting the crowd into motion for the entire set. Almost every transition invoked cheers as he shifted between his beats, current hip-hop hits, and electronic instrumentals.
Throughout the two-hour set, he played a selection of mixes from all of his albums, but the majority came from 2010’s Cosmogramma, and his brand new release, Until the Quiet Comes. He also played cuts from, among others, Casino, Jay-Z and Kanye, Portishead, and the Beastie Boys. He even proclaimed Monday night as “International Kendrick Lamar Day”, a nod to his Californian peer’s debut album release, before leading the crowd through Lamar’s current hit, “Swimming Pools (Drank)”.
The show was also an incredible visual experience. Ellison stood between two projection screens, one in front and another behind. From kaleidoscopic colors to three-dimensional geometric shapes, the light show felt like a glide through the blueprint of a futuristic spaceship. The shapes and colors twisted and flipped with the rhythms of the music, accentuating the beats. Most of the night Flying Lotus appeared as a mere silhouette, but kept the crowd pumped with enthusiastic head nodding and infectious dance moves.
After the crowd screamed for an encore, the DJ returned, took a giant swill from his second bottle of Jameson of the night, and played for another 20 minutes. Then all three performers came out and thanked the crowd humbly as they shook hands with the front row, ending a thrilling evening.