Troxy. London | November 16th
When some artists are late, crowds get riled and over-priced and under-chilled cans of Carlsberg are flung through the air in indignation. When Steven Ellison arrived onstage late, had one failed start, then eventually began his set in earnest about forty minutes after initially planned, it’s somehow OK. He lifts a microphone to his face and says “LONDON” with an enthusiasm and magnetism that makes his lack of punctuality instantly forgivable.
This show was a long time coming for Lotus fans. The initial plan was an all-nighter at Brixton, mysteriously called off before Soundcrash came to the rescue and put him on at the glamorous Troxy, lurking behind Canary Wharf. FlyLo’s latest LP Until The Quiet Comes was, for many, the record we’d been waiting to hear. Perfectly merging the hip-hop leanings of his early material with the more leftfield-leaning sounds of recent times, it is a dreamy and ambitious record deserving of the live spectacular referred to as ‘Layer3’: a screen behind, a screen in front, and endlessly textured visuals from some of the clever sorts at Brainfeeder. Throughout the set, tracks like Putty Boy Strut and old favourite Zodiac Shit were teamed with galactic graphics which transformed and misshaped in front of the baying crowd’s eyes.
This is all part of a bigger vision for Flying Lotus, and this performance contained fewer cuts of surefire crowd pleasers than usual, suggesting Lotus has more faith in that vision than ever before. He happily hypnotised the crowd with off kilter swing beats and warring BPMs throughout. Troxy succeeded in providing a bass quality capable of rattling their elaborate decor. This set wasn’t without its less indulgent moments: the riff of Niggas In Paris was teased during one crescendo, and dropping Kendrick Lamar’s Backseat Freestyle saw the crowd in his full control. After asking the crowd what they wanted to hear, Lotus played his remix of Idioteque, filling the room with its icy beat and vacant vocal. Yet the confidence remained to culminate proceedings with his own material, as opposed to the can’t-go-wrong gem of Waka Flocka’s Hard In Da Paint.
With each release, Flying Lotus escalates further from critics’ and aficionados’ darling to widely-accepted boundary-pushing genius. Until The Quiet Comes is a work of direction and fantasy, and as Flying Lotus runs over curfew, perched behind a DJ deck miraculously reminiscent of a Transformer whilst the man himself gyrates his head in awe of the imagery he is merging into, it’s fairly clear that the fantasy doesn’t end on record.
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Words: Duncan Harrison