Cervantes’: the gift that keeps on giving. The medium sized venue with a shimmering disco ball that glistens down upon its occupants is a haven for music fans of all types in Denver, offering majestic concerts literally any night of the week. This week? A banger for the books, as Colorado favorite Lotus threw down a completely spontaneous evening, showcasing members of the group spotlighting their side projects in a line of performances, otherwise known as Five Petals, leading up to an incredible improvisation set by the group as a whole.
Per the Cervantes’ uniform, this was event was never meant to be quick and simple. With a schedule beginning at nine and ending at two, any given funky rager knew there was no turning back once through the doors of the Masterpiece. One thing to be said, however, is that the promptness of the show could have shot a love arrow through the heart of any schedule-oriented Lotus freak.
The night began right at nine with Chuck Morris, the lead percussionist of the main group, and Anthony Fugate representing their ensemble known as Nunchuck. What started up in 2013 has evolved into just another thrilling chance to see a member of the cult-followed Lotus, and Nunchuck has since made appearances at all over the Denver scene since. With dance enthusing yet laid back jams, these two get the crowd grooving into a while of electronic bliss. The undeniable force pulling through Nunchuck that might not be as apparent in the other sets is Morris’ sense of rhythmic drumming, that keeps the body grooving even through an unknown track.
As the clock stroke ten, there he was: Jesse Miller and all of his custom designed equipment. The bass, the sampler, the synth, all of his many toys on stage ready to be jamming beats in real-time and synchronizing their sounds with remixes and other goodies. The light show on any given side of him radiated in unison with the leafy design on the LED screens hanging above the patron’s heads. The crowd had definitely kicked things up a notch, especially when another Lotus member, Mike Rempel joined the stage to help shred those instantly recognizable riffs we all know and love from the many albums and recordings hoarded in each of the jammers Lotus playlists. While playing some recognizable beats, some not, Jesse took to the mic at one point to exclaim, “I produced this song yesterday! Just kidding, I wrote it last week,” to offer some comedic infusion to the otherwise lyric-less time.
Keeping up to the standard of time, Luke the Knife was out and ready to jam right at 11. The venue did not seem any more populated, however the personal space was eradicated almost instantly as the funky beats and harsh bass lines became a rhythmic reality. The Knife’s set included much more lyrical sampling, encouraging the audience to throw their hands up, request met with much enthusiasm. The many co-ed ponytails shook back and forth to the “Ain’t no party like a West Coast Party” chants, as astronauts danced on the screens in-between shots of transforming triangles. The samples he was choosing were inarguably on their game, at one point mixing in from a Tribe Called Quest tribute (rest in power, Phife Dawg) to none other than James Brown. Scenes of erotic interactions played as Jesse made his way back on stage to assist his brother in this never-before seen conglomerate of soon to be favorite jams. The set ended with a poppy dance tune, hands clapping, and the two brothers whimsically gearing the crowd for the main event.
After quick set break the entire group infiltrated the stage, with the ever-expected jammy, wompy sounds adored by each and every set of ears in the sold out venue. The breakdowns steamed like hot water on ice in unison with the amazing spheres of light pouring down in different colors over each member individually.The layout was as much Lotus as anyone could want or expect, with Luke on the guitar/keyboards, Jesse on the bass and sampler board, Mike slaying the signature ribbon of sounds from his guitar, Chuck Morris keeping us in rhythm on percussion and Mike Greenfield jacking up the beat with his drum set. All in all, the night had panned out into every fans dream, as no one could deny these musicians their much earned status as legendary.
The show itself sold out in barely no time at all, but have no fear. The band is crossing the Rockies to do their thing in the mountains this weekend in Aspen at the ever-stunning Belly Up. After these two nights of fresh funk, they will return for an invite only performance at Opheilia’s, which might be as intimate as it gets with these rock stars. With all this excitement, however, one must be sure not to forget the blissful announcement that the band will be returning to Red Rocks this summer, with El Ten Eleven and Tyco to offer one of the most stacked lineups of the summer.