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Taken from scenestr (Feb 02, 2020)

Review: Flying Lotus @ The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane)

Somewhere between the worlds of Mad Max, Magical Mystery Tour and Samurai Champloo lies the universe of electronic revolutionary, Flying Lotus.

by Harry Edwards

Flying Lotus. Courtesy Image
Flying Lotus played The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane) 26 January, 2020. Courtesy Image

Last Sunday (26 January), FlyLo treated The Tivoli Theatre to a journey into his audio-cinematic cosmos.

A direct relative of jazz legends John and Alice Coltrane and Ernie Farrow, the innovative apple didn't fall far from the tree for the California raised Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus, aka FlyLo, aka Captain Murphy). FlyLo's collaboration credits include Radiohead, MF Doom, Odd Future, Mac Miller, George Clinton and Solange Knowles, just to name a few.

For the fire themed 'Flamagra' tour, Flying Lotus has expanded the set-up for his world-famous audio-visual 3D experience. The production incorporates a decadent concoction of laser lights, projection mapping and real time audio-visualisation, resulting in a live show in a league of its own.

The set began with an animated David Lynch reading the surreal 'Fire Is Coming' monologue, which inspired 'Flamagra', as fans eagerly awaited the onslaught of inter-dimensional grooves in their complimentary 3D glasses.

Opening with the record's first single 'Post Requisite', Flying Lotus launched the crowd headfirst into the eclectic world of 'Flamagra'. Images of space travel, colliding galaxies and great balls of fire merged seamlessly with the beat.

'Flamagra' track 'Inside Your Home' set the speakers alight, dropping shuffled bass and jerky claps to a backdrop of imagery from previous release 'You're Dead', then distorting into a '2001: A Space Odyssey' styled time-warp sequence.

Sensual highlight 'Spontaneous', featuring Little Dragon, had the floor dropping, with the singers' entrancing melodies drifting over a hard-hitting track. Dream-sand stars plumed rhythmically on screen, reacting organically to the chops and changes in real time.

Around the midway point, fans were treated to a sample of his Captain Murphy MC persona, seeing FlyLo take to the crowd mic in hand as the projection pulsed into manic anime, the perfect accompaniment to his ferocious alter-ego.

After this refreshing lyrical foray FlyLo asked over loudspeaker: "Do we have a hard curfew tonight? No? Alright, well...", and proceeded to bust into a medley of four or five unreleased tracks in progress, each spanning one or two minutes. One in particular, referred to only as 'Mario Kart', featured one of the most energetic, Daft Punk-esque beats in Flying Lotus's entire catalogue.

FlyLo got laughs all around with a Soulja Boy mash-up, juxtaposing elements of his sophisticatedly loose jazz-hop with the unforgettably provocative refrain: "Superman that ho."

Snippets of 2012's 'Putty Boy Strut' and its memorable clapping rhythm were heard sporadically throughout the set, each time transforming into an amorphous, primordial ooze of funk.

A set list at a Flying Lotus show would be like an astronaut navigating space travel with Google Maps. FlyLo goes off the books and into unchartered territory, and for his fans that's the only way to have it.

Anderson .Paak feature 'More' was a crowd favourite, with Paak's soulfully charismatic style supplemented by one of Thundercat's most fuzzed-out, infectious basslines.

Unfortunately, the promise of an all-night romp was cut somewhat short by issues with the stage's power supply. Throughout the evening FlyLo could be spotted attempting to communicate with stagehands, evidently regarding a technical dilemma.

Realising that fate had transpired against him, Flying Lotus opened up the pit and unleashed the heaviest of his grooves.

Closing out the night with Thundercat's 'Them Changes' (of which he is a co-writer), FlyLo had the entire audience singing their hearts out to one of 2017's most memorable releases.

Though he offered for a fan to accompany him in a beat-boxed rendition of material from 2010's 'Cosmogramma', it was soon clear to all that the time had come to pack it in for the night.

Flying Lotus has consistently pushed the boundaries of what it means to play live music. At times, he is the DJ. At others, he is his own MC. For the most part FlyLo spends shows weaving between roles, creating a seamless blend of live remixing, beat-mashing, and creative transitions/ mash-ups, with all the energy of the conductor of an Afrofuturist jazz orchestra.

For fans of mixed media, funk, hip hop and genre-colliding creativity, Flying Lotus' show is an experience not to be missed.


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