Lotus in San Francisco 11/12/11 – EmLo’s Gonzo Photos & Review

By: Emma Lorraine

November nights in the Bay, guess who’s back?

Its been about a year since Lotus fans across the nation have been neglected the privilege of Mr. Chuck Morris’ performance, and it could not be sweeter to have that bad ass back. On the first night of their Cali run, Saturday 11/12/11 at The Independent in San Francisco, those not expecting Mr. Morris’ appearance erupted throughout the venue. Verbalizations of sheer excitement were all around. A slender blonde male stood to my left as he compulsively voiced his anticipation with multiple “holy shit’s” and “fuck yes’s”… as I turned to him, his eyes gleamed, “Spiritualize” began to blare, and the excitement had met it’s explosion: “CHUCK IS BACK, BITCHES!” The crowd that flooded the sold out show stood as a valid verification that the Lotus love in the Bay Area is strong, and strengthening. Veteran fans, along with those just recently enlightened, shared the room to witness the psychedelic-rock infused, oh-so-sexy, spiritual-jamtronica makings of Lotus. Grins glistened on fans’ faces alike, as booties bounced up, down, all around. The energy emerging from each and every band member was palpable, undeniably being transferred into each receptive individual in the crowd. “Spiritualize” instantly set the night off right. The ocean of spectators waved their arms, jumping from foot to foot; a motionless body could not be found. So swiftly, so sweetly, the dance party ensued. The room was filled with magic.

The pristine percussion pumped through the room, fueling smiles. Chuck’s presence pronounced itself in total greatness, reminding us all why we have been missing him so much. Shirt all buttoned up, eyes bright, Chuck picked up instrument after instrument, pairing them appropriately in musical matrimony. His focus was maintained with a constant, cohesive flow. “Spiritualize” faded into the heavier bass beat of “Golden Ghost,” a track off their latest self-titled album. Successfully maintaining the high heat of dance fever, the boys banged out a bodacious “Bellwether.” Only to follow with the cooling serenity that travels with the slower paced “Behind Midwest Storefronts.” The bodies ceased to bounce as a sense of tranquility fell upon all, leading us into a steady sway. Musically invoking an array of not just emotions but eccentric dance moves. The first set came to a sensual circle as the desperately craved “Spiritualize” found it’s end. Leaving the crowd back where their bouncing asses started; grooving, grinning, and delirious with anticipation for what the future set has in store. Worth all the wait, the boys return to the second set with that wacky “Wax,” leaving the audience helpless to it’s head-bobbing and toe-tapping powers.

Following the wondrous ways of “Wax,” Mr. Luke Miller, that babe of a keyboard and guitarist, frequently found stage right (ya, ya, ladies you know the one), publicized the life of his new song “NonStop in SF,” which in turn was then performed. The uptempo dance beat continued the ongoing heated hustle of a party, which is to be expected from Lotus, but the tune defiantly strayed away from Lotus’ comfortable rock-with-psychedelic tendencies. I found “NonStop in SF” to be indeed a party song, but on a very pop culture basis. A very bubbly and happy jam, which I think fits suit, seeing as it matches the description of the city that sparked Luke’s inspiration. San Francisco is a happy bubble of light, with a people and culture to match, so the song is fitting. Although the fit can be arguably discussed as to whether or not “NonStop in SF” holds a rightful place in Lotus’ repertoire. I find myself harboring mixed emotions as to which side of the fence I am on, but for certain, I did find myself dancing. Is that not the major point? If so, success. With further exposure to the song, I will be able to respond with a fulfilled and legitimate judgment. At the moment, I remain biased, for almost anything that sings the praises of San Francisco is good in my book.

The glittery goodness of positivity-infused music found it’s match, as “Sunrain” danced on our eardrums faster than anyone’s feet could carry them. The speed increased as “Intro to Cell” basically just set shit on fire. The comprehensive crowd stood in admiration as guitarist and potential jedi master Mike Rempel, perched stage left, released his inner being of Yoda. He stood still, eyes closed, smile wide, with fingers on fire. The room was hot! Figuratively, and literally. I wandered around The Indy, ducking in and out of ecstatic dancers, on the hunt for a temperature drop. I could not stop the sweat from falling out of every pore, with excessive dance (and joy) to blame. Even with those high-powered fans the venue typically has blasting, there was no hope of finding a cold sanctuary. Now, do not misunderstand this as a trivial attack on the establishment’s ventilation system; this is merely an observation of the power that is beautiful music. Each member of the band driving the audience further and further into a heated state of happiness. As I made my way from one side of the venue to the other, I gazed at my fellow frolickers in appreciation. The happiness was contagious, infecting the entire room. The energy being emitted was beyond the reckoning of turning down the heat. The ignition on the dance inferno was fully activated as a suspended mirrored sphere sent illuminated rays glittering throughout the entire room. I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again… dammit, everyone needs a freaking disco ball! All were enthralled, all were dancing, all including the drink servers who courageously ventured in and out of the bubbling crowd all night. They wore matching smiles as they mirrored the dance rhythms of those they were serving.

Prior to an outstanding encore of “In an Outline” and “Hammerstrike,” “Jump Off” finished up the remainder of the 2nd set of the 1st magical night in SF. “Jump Off’s” sporadic and upbeat rhythms sent the crowd spiraling in an unorganized, totally organic, out of control dance frenzy. Louder, faster, and with heaps of energetic enthusiasm, Lotus exercised their abilities to literally make the crowd jump the fuck off. Beyond the crowd’s elevated dance moves, the SF audience got the mad honor of getting a very brief standing performance from the green machine himself, the Great Greenfield. Like many drummers, Mike Greenfield is usually hidden behind his gadgets, gear, and equipment. Few times have been found when he emerges from the depths to raise up and warm you with that glorious Greenfield grin. Fortunately for those present, this was one of those nights. Instant shift in attention as all continued to rage alongside the visible drummer man. So sweet. I fully advocate animated behavior from drummers. Being the exceptionally vital members of the band that they are, its always great to actually witness their personal reactions to the show’s atmosphere (even better when the drummer is Mike, because let’s face it… he is a sunshine warrior, and who doesn’t love to look at that joyous being!?) Cheers roared as he continued on, successfully demonstrating his immense talent and expertise. It was all over too soon, as the humble hunk took his seat and traveled on forth, delivering us countless superb sounds. Here’s to the cheers of encouraging drummers from all around, we love to see you, we love you. But most of all, we totally love The Great Greenfield.

While it is undoubtable San Francisco is a positive party all on it’s own, the audience roared with applause of appreciation after the finale of “Hammerstrike.” A feeling of gratitude for the deliverance of positive vibrations. For bringing an amazing party. For always standing as a constant celebration of life, love, music, and the apprise of all three.

Lotus love: Strong & strengthening.

Also a special and important shout out needs to be made in the praises of Lotus’ crew members. Each and every one of them is an obvious hard worker and an exceptional beam of light, that help make the shows we get to experience that much more magical. A personal thank you- without all of you there would be an immense loss.
PS: Mega shoutout to Scott, those lights looked so ballin’ – keep up the great work.

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