Flying Lotus: Live review | The Tivoli | Sunday 26 January 2020

How many gigs have you been to recently where you are presented with a pair of 3D glasses and a tab of acid on arrival? I’m joking about the acid, however, not a word of a lie in regards to the glasses. In fact, given the incredible music and artistry that Flying Lotus drip-fed Brisbane audiences, the acid wasn’t even necessary. The minute FlyLo took to the stage, the swell of anticipation from the crowd was palpable and as everyone donned their glasses, the journey to the unknown began in unison. As spiralling prisms, kaleidoscopic mandalas, a red skull you could almost smell the bones of and a geeky, but oh-so-cool Star Destroyer, throttled towards you, Flying Lotus held it all together through his unique take on music as a whole.

With throbbing bass, and industrial, jagged beats, a FlyLo specialty, the synthetic atmosphere of his music was then balanced with the dreamlike, ethereal and at times, jazz-influenced music Steve Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, is more than capable of crafting. This man appears to have been born on a set of decks. Throughout the show, he had one hand permanently twisting knobs and adjusting the decks and the other, grasping a microphone whilst he belted out politically-inspired rap and interacted with the crowd. Claiming he wanted to ‘go off the fucking grid tonight and hear it loud’, Flying Lotus definitely lived up to his mantra, emanating almost body shuddering bass and drum beats, alongside a multi-layered patchwork quilt of music he is a master of creating.

Throughout the show, there was definitely an emphasis on his latest album, Flamagra, playing tracks including ‘More’ featuring Anderson Paak, ‘Black Balloons Reprise’ and ‘Fire is Coming’ which entailed the creepily cast David Lynch opening the show in a kooky short film that had him reciting the monologue in some kind of wolf costume, warning human ‘wolf-cubs’ that ‘Fire is Coming’. As I said, acid wasn’t necessary. FlyLo also reeled out a bunch of tracks from Los Angeles, You’re Dead! and Cosmogramma, as well as the Thundercats hit ‘Them Changes’ whom he has collaborated with on numerous albums.

Flying Lotus’ compressed, jazzy and experimental electro-hop is so textured you can almost see it. The combination of impressive background visuals that perfectly synced with the music, as well as Ellison, who threw everything he had into every track he performed, was enough to leave you shaking your head in wonderment. The experience was akin to trying to describe to someone the first time you tried ice cream. Something along the lines of an explosion of the senses that hit you in the face with a numbing ‘Thwack!’.

Throughout the night, Flying Lotus brought his restless experimentation, innovation and artistry of music to life, until he lost power. Literally. Due to an electrical fault, his show was unfortunately cut short and despite his offering to finish show acapella style, the night ended rather abruptly. As the crowd milled around and reluctantly removed their glasses, the harsh reality of the real world and the need to find an Uber and make the trek home was almost too much to bear, with everyone wanting to take home a piece of the universe Flying Lotus created with his music, that took us all to a realm of reality, we rarely get a chance to explore.

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