Lotus closes out summer festival season and launches new album in Denver

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:: Lotus :: Aggie Theatre :: October 5 :: Ogden Theatre :: October 6 ::

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By Lisa Oshlo
While few bands these days truly can be said to push the envelope, Philadelphia-based Lotus clearly stands within this group. Purveyors of a sound that’s a little bit disco and a little bit rock and roll, the music of Lotus encompasses many genres. When catching them live, the predominant genre would be jam; the members of Lotus are masters of improvisation and are constantly evolving their sound onstage.
Made up of Steve Clemens on drums, Jesse Miller on bass and sampler, Luke Miller on guitar and keys, Chuck Morris on electronic and acoustic percussion, and Mike Rempel on guitar, Lotus formed on the campus of a Mennonite college in 1999. “Some of the administration did not want Lotus playing on campus because we also performed at bars, and I guess that meant we encouraged drinking,” said Jesse Miller in a recent interview with The Marquee. “Otherwise, the biggest challenge was finding venues to perform at around Northern Indiana and Michigan while still being able to make it to class Monday morning.”

All of their efforts were not in vain, as Lotus has become one of the most exciting bands on the jam band circuit today. Their blend of down tempo, instrumental post-rock, dance, and live electronica is on the cusp of an emerging new genre. Their newest album, Escaping Sargasso Sea, is their most exciting release yet. The double disc set is a collection of fan favorites, new tracks, and the organic improvisation of recent live shows. “It is the best sounding live recording of Lotus available, and I think it translates the energy of the live show into something that can be listened to anywhere,” said Miller.
The high energy of their live shows has made Lotus a mainstay on the late-night festival scene. The music gets the crowd moving, as familiar compositions are broken down and restructured in front of the audience. “The compositions dictate how much improvisation will take place — some are more open-ended than others,” said Miller. “We like to mix up our sets and take some risks with different transitions or completely improvised sections. The goal is for the band to be able to feed off the crowd’s energy and often this is easiest to do in the improvised sections.”
And speaking of live shows, the band has something special planned for their show this month at Denver’s Ogden Theater. “Since the album came out we have been playing festivals exclusively, so we have decided to make the Denver show the album release party, Lost at Sargasso Sea. So break out a pirate eye patch or mermaid costume and come on down to the Ogden,” Miller said. “We are also letting fans vote on one composition for the band to bring out of retirement for the night.”
And lest anyone is confused, Miller lays it on the line: “Lotus is a rock band. We have guitars and drums, our shows take place at rock venues and not in dance clubs. We are trying to blur the lines somewhat by incorporating compositional elements traditionally associated with electronic production and leaning toward certain types of grooves that have origins in dance and DJ culture. But, at the end of the day, we are not on stage simply pushing buttons, clicking a mouse, or playing along to pre-recorded tracks.”
:: Lotus ::
:: Aggie Theatre :: October 5 ::
:: Ogden Theatre :: October 6 ::

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