This Little Underground: Flying Lotus and Thundercat at the Beacham

by

This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. Read the latest column here.

Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

With the vibe-rich, kinetic frequencies of Flying Lotus and Thundercat (Oct. 9, The Beacham), downtown became L.A. for a night.

First off, what’s with all the bros and hippies at this show? I thought the former were on the dubstep dick and the latter, well, fuck if I know.

But even among strangely mixed company, the show was some voyage. Despite the heavy jazz direction of his transporting new album You’re Dead, beat-scene king Flying Lotus maintained his forward-looking electronic pulse. However, though the show was amazing, it wasn’t at all driven by performance.

You’ve heard me talk ad infinitum about the live ground a solo electronic act has to make up onstage. Well, FlyLo is one guy who gets it and plugs that gap by sparing no effort on the visual aspect of his show. For a performer whose instrumental array has as much sizzle as some dude on his Mac at Starbucks, a little mystery and opacity is a good thing. So performing behind a veil was a smart move on his part. But what at first looked like a simple screen was actually the canvas for some live genius.

Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Turns out, it’s a sophisticated visual rig called Layer 3 that’s comprised of multiple layers of scrims that – with the help of front and rear projectors – allow the dynamic and very artistic visuals to render in three dazzling dimensions. So maximum daps to visual artists Strangeloop and Timeboy, who collaborated with Flying Lotus in designing this stunning and show-defining system. There would be no show without their work.

Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Flying Lotus at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Bass ace Thundercat went the standard live-band route with a trio, but that was the only thing conventional about him. Backed by a drummer, a keyboard player and a crazy animal headdress, he proved that shredding isn’t just the exclusive province of squealing guitars. Like a live hive of buttery soul, complex grooves and fractured jazz, his alternative, progressive R&B pulses with next-level currency. The sum effect is all at once dreamy, frenetic and daring.

Thundercat at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Thundercat at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Thundercat at the Beacham (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Read more This Little Underground:

Belle and Sebastian’s Fla. debut makes a scene
  • Belle and Sebastian’s Fla. debut makes a scene

Belle and Sebastian’s Fla. debut makes a scene

 

 

comment