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Another Year Older and a Little Bit Bigger

October 8th, 2012

Flying Lotus – Terminal 5 – October 7, 2012


Take Flying Lotus beats out of headphones or tinny computer speakers and into a club and they become sometime else entirely. On recordings, Flying Lotus is the manufacturer behind chilled-out and jazzy shape-shifting beats. But played live in a jam-packed venue with the bass turned up so high that it’s felt in the knees, and you have an almost unfamiliar sound. It’s like comparing a wild tiger to one in the zoo—the setting changes the music in a fundamental way. Flying Lotus’s natural habitat is the club, where beats can roam free, bouncing off every corner of the venue and sweeping up an audience in the process.

It’s safe to say Flying Lotus was in his natural habitat last night at the sold-out Terminal 5. During the few breaks in the set, the crowd serenaded the L.A. producer, celebrating his 28th birthday, with several renditions of “Happy Birthday to You.” Set up behind a screen with mind-altering visuals, for a while all you could make out of Flying Lotus was a silhouette wearing a sequin-covered sweatshirt that reflected the colored projections back like a thousand laser pointers. Playing one song after another, he wove samples ranging from Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” to Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” into his own beats. After a few songs, he stepped from behind the screen to greet the audience, and after a few more, he invited everyone in his entourage onstage for the night’s most successful rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

Pop music moves pretty fast these days, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a year from now Flying Lotus’s beats find their way into a Kanye West sample or something else equally mainstream. The same has happened with so many other producers carrying the banner for a whole new interpretation of club music. If it happens, everyone at last night’s show can say to jealous late adopters that they saw Fly Lo in New York City on his 28th birthday. The show certainly felt like the beginning of a big musician getting bigger, or in the very least, another year older. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com