By Joe Janiak:
Thursday at Canalside closed out the season with two bands from the jam scene. Bands that you could imagine seeing at any number of the festivals that sprout every summer in cities across country. The big difference was that they were both playing downtown, in Buffalo, on a Thursday night, and admission was free. You couldn’t have asked for a better night to finish off a concert series, as the temperature was near perfect, hardly a cloud in sight and thousands of people had showed up for one last summertime party by the water. Both bands came ready to play as well, and they threw drown for a solid night of beats, improvisation, guitar shredding, and all out dance party groove.
Unfortunately there was no chance of me catching the entire Aqueous set, but what I did manage to see was nothing short of stellar. I saw these guys for the first time at Buffalove music festival back in June and their rendition of Pink Floyd’s, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” absolutely blew me away. Spot on! They’re a local a band that have a catalogue of original songs and aren’t afraid to throw in covers.
They have been touring pretty much non-stop and they play like professionals. On Thursday they finished their set off with an original called, “Skyway” that segued perfectly into Dr. Dre’s, “Nuthin But a G’ Thang” and back into “Skyway,” highlighting what makes them a band to go see now, and foreshadowing the dance party to come. No doubt that everyone there was having a good time.
The best thing about this venue is location. At set break, all you have to do is walk fifty yards and you a have plenty of room on a walkway that overlooks the canal. Sunset falls perfectly over the water and leaves its last glowing rays to reflect off the canal, the ships in the naval park, and the surrounding city buildings. It is an inspiring place to be.
So as I was getting caught up in the sights, Lotus made it to stage and I had to get moving to document the action. Although I am not a huge fan of electronica, Lotus has me questioning why? It may have its place. With the absence of lyrics there is a lot more space to fill and they do a great job of building up soundscapes and then knocking them down, only to begin the building process again. Musically they explore the darkness as well as the light, with influences of hip hop, house, rock, and jam. What they brought to Buffalo was the soundtrack for a two hour dance party. If you wanted hang out and mingle, the outskirts of the venue was the place for that, because the main lawn was overflowing with people letting loose.
In a sense, the place was a living organism- the brain on stage forming its message -the lawn a giant, beating heart, pumping and circulating life to the furthest points and back again, the two parts working together seamlessly. During songs like, “Spiritualize,” with mellow, driving, hypnotic jamming, highlighted by echoing guitar licks, then shifting slowly into darkness, until finally building back up to an adrenalin inducing peak, you can certainly understand what I mean.
The set was a journey that, when it was over, left you in a different place than when it began.
Lotus has just announced a new, Hip-Hop album, Monks, that will be coming out on September 10th, featuring several well known artists and we heard a song off of that album toward the end of the concert. “Cannon in the Heavens” is old school beats featuring, Lyrics Born with fresh, flowing words.
As far as group dynamics, Luke Miller and Jesse Miller might be in the lead on guitar/keys and bass/synth board, but it was mostly a group effort. Mike Rempel is an excellent guitar player with a relaxed style. Mike Greenfield on drums does a great job shifting beats and Chuck Morris accents its all with his percussive abilities.
Another excellent summer of outdoor concerts has just ended and already I am looking forward to next year.
08/29/13 • Buffalo , NY- Lotus
Set 1: Harps, The Surf, Bush Pilot, Shimmer And Out > Suitcases And Sandwiches > Shimmer And Out, Blacklight Sunflare, Age Of Inexperience, Baby I’m Yours, Behind Midwest Storefronts, Massif, Cannon in the Heavens, Spiritualize
Encore: What Did I Do Wrong?, Jump Off (http://phantasytour.com)
King for a Day >
Warren in the Window *
The Median >
What’s the Connection?
Kitty Chaser (Explosions) #
Nuthin but a G Thang ** >