Live Review

Flying Lotus, Terminal 5, New York

An unexpected level of engagement and a major sense of investment in the crowd.

For many of its shows, Manhattan’s Terminal 5 is an incongruous venue. It’s housed in a former night club’s massive modern space that boasts three floors, and a semi-trashy blue light scheme that a friend once described as what a concert venue looks like in a movie. Somehow it still hosts shows from the likes of Jens Lekman and The Walkmen.

The last time I saw Flying Lotus on stage, he was channeling some older brother vibes behind a simple table as Earl Sweatshirt’s DJ. But for his proper solo show, his stage was much more impressive. He performs between two translucent screens, and projects double-layered and incredibly synchronised video art, that alternates between delightfully Web 1.0 images of planets to images that would fit nicely on the control panel of the Starship Enterprise.

But the screens aren’t a barrier between Flying Lotus and audience, thanks to his habit of bounding around the projections, microphone in hand, to deliver verses from his Captain Murphy tracks or even just to add punctuation to certain huge moments. Later on Twitter he calls the show ‘party heavy’, which is a fitting description for any set that includes his Warp labelmates TNGHT’s ‘Higher Ground’.

His interruptions of the show, running to the front of the crowd, and interjecting his own mixes with banter, gives the performance an unexpected level of engagement and a major sense of investment in the crowd. After a successful transition from Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Backseat Freestyle’ (adding “Lotus has a dream!”) to mellower fare from his back catalogue, he cuts the music and blurted out an endearing, “I didn’t think that was going to work!”

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