Lotus at The Independent, by Joshua Huver

Lotus (photo: Joshua Huver)

Last week, jam band Lotus graced the stage of The Independent for two nights in a row, including a sold-out second night on Thursday, February 9.

Opening the evening was the experimental loop-magic of bassist and composer Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty, who combine efforts to become El Ten Eleven, often coming across as a hyped-up Tycho.

El Ten Eleven at The Independent, by Joshua Huver

Dunn is a treat to watch as he picks up one axe from a rack of four or five, including a double-neck bass/guitar combo. While Fogarty’s drum beat never waivers, Dunn can be found looping a mellow line with one bass, adding a high pitched repeating melody with a guitar and then returning with a different, usually fretless bass and ramped-up effects to achieve a multitude of sounds.

The second night of the run took on a noticeably different attitude from the beginning of the night, Dunn noticed.

“You guys are way quieter than last night. Some of you guys were here last night, I bet,” he said. “Not judging, just stating facts.”

They played three more songs, including a 15-minute tune that started like a plodding mammoth, grew to a double-time Paper Diamond beat and then settled down into silence before bringing the tune back around. Their hour-long set ended just before 10pm.

By the time El Ten Eleven had finished, the 500-capacity room was swelling and the lack of energy Dunn had picked up on was being shown outside.

Lotus took the stage at 10:30, opening with “Fearless.” It marked only the seventh time the song has ever been played since their latest album Eat The Light was released last summer. Check it out below:

They moved quickly from “Fearless” in to “Shimmer and Out,” a fan favorite that has been in the band’s repertoire since the early 2000s. Bassist Jesse Miller took over the main vibe of the song’s jam, and percussionist Chuck Morris, easily the most animated member on stage, had already broken a stick and threw it to the crowd stage right.

The highlight of the first set came next and lasted nearly 30 minutes on its own: a suitcase sandwich of spaghetti. Not literally, but the song “Suitcases and Sandwiches” featured another song called “Spaghetti” in the middle of it, with a fiery solo transition from the happy and upbeat guitar of Mike Rempel to Luke Miller’s sinister synthesizer combo with the lights.

“Spaghetti” was one of the most fun tracks I’ve danced to in a long time, and it bears an eerie resemblance to the classic AIR tune “Le Femme D’argent” from the 1998 album Moon Safari.

“Destroyer” followed, with the title track “Eats The Light” closing the first set. If the first set was any indication, it was a safe bet that the second set would be a healthy mix of new songs and classics.

Opening the next set with an impressive and old school combo of “Nematode” and “Livingston Storm” could not prepare the audience for a bust-out performance of “Caywood” from their 2003 album Germination. Althought “Nematode” is from the same album, “Caywood” typically sees fewer than 10 performances a year. Another bust-out followed with “Debris” making its first set list appearance in over one full year.

“Did Fatt” segued into the Bowie classic “Life On Mars” and was met with uproarious response from the audience before they finished the set with “Greet The Mind” and encored with “Intro To A Cell.”

We already can’t wait for Lotus to return to the Bay Area.