Live Review: Flying Lotus w/ Thundercat, Teebs, & JPS @ Showbox SoDo 5/22/2013

Live Reviews
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Brittany Brassell

Yes, that is a real bill. Electronic genre-blending genius Flying Lotus (Steven Ellison) brought some of his closest associates along with him on his second trip through Seattle in support of excellent new record, Until The Quiet Comes. Thundercat has been a long time collaborator, playing all of the jaw-dropping bass lines you heard ripping through tracks on Cosmogramma and the new record. Teebs fits right along with those two in terms of vibe and substance, and produced some of the sounds heard on Ellison's Captain Murphy mixtape Duality. While the three may seem to fit together nicely, the three are radically different in terms of delivery. The mixture of all of the above, plus the sweet sounds of Australian rising electronic act JPS made for the most consistent evening of great music (and visuals) this writer has seen in quite some time.

JPS opened the night up with an excellent set of vibes. While a bit removed from the tripped out sampling madness of the three to come, JPS manned an old school turntable setup and worked a pretty manual set, scratching all over the place and fading samples in and out to oblivion. He didn't look up from his kit for 45 minutes, but I'm sure out of the corner of his eye he could definitely see bodies moving and heads bobbing. With a chilled out delivery and a great ending full of original work, JPS successfully got the party started and had the crowd in all smiles.


Following JPS was Californian electronic artist Teebs, who calls Brainfeeder home along with Thundercat. Manning a Roland sampler and a simple mixer, Teebs made a lot of noise in his far too short 30 minute set, blazing through track after track of beats, sound, and atmosphere. Similar to Flying Lotus, Teebs has a gift for layering and developing a soundscape, and while his set was mellow, the crowd was doubtlessly into it.


After the stage was stripped of the DJ table and rearranged with front and center monitors and a microphone, Thundercat entered the stage to wild applause. Just in case his Flying Lotus affiliation is all you are familiar with, Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) absolutely holds his own. On 2011's The Golden Age of Apocalypse, Bruner introduced us to his world of electronic soul grooves, topping his ungodly bass skills with some sultry vocals and some gorgeous jazzy song structures. This year, he will drop a new record executive produced by Flying Lotus. On this tour, Bruner brought along the only friends that could possibly keep up. On drums was the unspeakably good Thomas Pridgen, who played drums for the Mars Volta in the Bedlam in Goliath era. Watching Bruner and Pridgen jam back and forth was a delight. The two grinned like madmen through the whole set, while the crowd just stared in awe. Between the likes of those two and the excellent songwriting Thundercat brings to the table, this set was one for the ages and honestly gave Ellison a run for his money.


The stage was stripped completely before Ellison's set, leaving only an elevated DJ booth shrouded behind a clear white screen. Behind that was another screen, which the crowd learned very quickly would come in handy to create some pretty incredible visuals. Ellison walked out in front, cracked a couple jokes, then manned his setup and dropped the noise. Instantly, projectors behind him and in front of him lit up both the front and back screens separately to create a 3-D effect projecting behind and on top of Ellison. Mixed with the bass-heavy noise and the trippy vibes that Flying Lotus brings to the table, it was a rave kid's dream. Ellison mixed his own material with that of others, bringing in some TNGHT, Kanye West, Burial, and more. The mixture spanned all the way across Ellison's stylistic catalogue, moving from trap hip-hop to 2-step UK garage. Just like a Flying Lotus record, the mixture was overwhelming and domineering, but ultimately, a delightful trip that you wish you could revisit instantly. To mix things up, every couple tracks, Ellison would drop a beat from Duality, come up front of his light setup and rap as Captain Murphy - the guy can seriously do no wrong. After a massive hour and a half set, Ellison was cheered back on stage for an encore, where he brought Thundercat along with him for new Flying Lotus produced Thundercat single "Oh Sheit It's X". Hearing the two together was delightful and made for a perfect ending to a larger than life performance.

Flying Lotus:

Until The Quiet Comes is out now! Thundercat's new record Apocalypse will be out in several weeks on Brainfeeder.

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