It’s not difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that a musician totally loses themselves to the music that they produce. Sometimes there’s a physical reaction, face gone slack, or perhaps the complete opposite: scrunched up tight, almost in a smile but not quite. It’s entirely natural and vulnerable all at once, and in any other context that wasn’t musical, it might almost seem jarring.
Last week’s Flying Lotus show at Terminal 5 in NYC was precisely that reaction for not only the musicians who took part, but audience members alike. It’s a true act of beauty when the musician gets lost in the music he’s producing, so much that the audience has almost the same exact physical reaction. There’s a connection. The crowd (from within the depths of the middle area at least), never fully gave in to a mosh pit, but teetered on the edge for the entirety of the night. That is how high the energy was — and while some may find that sort of setting distracting or a little bit nerve racking, others can understand it as a truly honest and natural reaction to music that happens all at once. An overwhelming sensation of the body in tune with sounds that exit stage and enter the ears at such a pace that a bridge is created between the ears and the mind, eliminating all instincts to think through a “normal” reaction.
The openers, Jeremiah Jae and Thundercat, presented the audience with separate flavors of music that successfully riled up the crowd for the main act. Whomever responsible for the visuals during Flying Lotus’ set, deserved serious credit. A constant swirl in and out of galactic universal shapes and images projected on a giant screen cast behind the stage, but what made it truly magnificent, was the technical suit that Flylo wore, which created the affect of a man blended in with his backdrop.
The audience was informed at a certain point that it was Flying Lotus’ birthday, which warranted a “Happy Birthday” audience sing-song as he walked out on stage. Being the birthday boy allowed him to essentially play around with whatever he wanted. With a blend of gangster rap and some favorite tracks off of older and newer albums, members of the audience had every reason to lose control to the beats and sounds being produced on stage. Highlights included a sped-up and danced out version of “Melt!” alongside Frank Ocean’s, “Thinkin’ Bout You,” and a sexy rendition of Radiohead’s “Idioteque,” among several others.
The entire show was closed out with a on-stage dance party courtesy of the members of Brainfeeder, which only further emphasized the amount of love that existed between all of the musicians. It was no wonder that the performance itself was such a spectacle: love was in the air for everyone who participated.