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PHOTOS: BLVD: & LOTUS @ Crofoot Pontiac by Drew Bender

BLVD: Crofoot Pontiac

Lotus: Crofoot Pontiac

Last night's show at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac
was another gathering of folks
looking to boogie on a Wednesday night.
The opening band BLVD (or 'boulevard' as the unabbreviated might refer to it) combined the jamtronica genre with hiphop. Originally I'd checked out their Myspace page which featured far more hiphop. However, the start of their set featured the trio of musicians and no MC as they plotted their course through the evening's set list. After a couple of tunes reminiscent of other such live-electronica acts such as Particle or the New Deal the trio was joined by MC Souleye who turned it from an instrumental act into a jam band inspired hiphop act. As
the crowd filled in with early 20-something dreadlocked hippie kids, and a few early-30s concert going veterans such as yours truly, the band moved between more funky dance tunes and hiphop inspired riffs and rhymes.
After an hour long set from BLVD, and a short break, Lotus took the stage.

Comprised of 2 percussionists, a keyboard/guitar player, bassist, and lead guitar, Lotus definitely packs a wallop. In no time the whole room was moving with arms flailing about in time with the music. For those unacquainted with the 'jamtronica' genre of music, the idea is to create tunes played by live musicians that are similar to music put out by turntable spinning DJs. Lotus combines rock riffs with dance tunes, all the while keeping the audience dancing and gyrating to the beats. The array of effects pedals and digital equipment that these guys have at their disposal is by no means small.
However, despite all of these amazing musical technological toys, the musicianship demonstrated by the band is indeed impressive. For me, one of the great appeals of 'jam bands,' whether they are bluegrass or techno is in the ability for improvisation and in playing so tightly together that the band functions as a single beast. Last night, Lotus showed that they have mastered the beast.


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