[live review + phlipcam video] Flying Lotus @ Royale

I'm going to attempt to keep the hysterics in check. Forgive me if I fly off the cuff a little though. A couple weeks ago, when I heard we netted Steven Ellison for a feature, I immediately got hyper-charged and confessed my worship of him in front of a room full of my coworkers. So it's not like any of them are going to take my word for it if I try to dub Friday's Royale gig "Show of the Year" or anything crazy like that. It was, but they won't believe me. The people reading this who weren't there probably won't believe me either. But the people who were there? They know what's good.

And maybe it was just a case of exceeding expectations. When I saw FLYING LOTUS DJ in Detroit back in May, it was just OK. He was clearly inebriated and played a pretty standard set consisting of hip-hop and dubstep. Also, Friday's show was one of those matinee thingys, and the prospect of listening to a DJ set at 8 in the evening had the cynic in me rolling his eyes pretty hard.

All doubts flew out the window however, when Mr. Lotus stepped to the stage wearing a motherfucking Aphex Twin shirt, arms swinging like fucking Holyfield going for a first round KO. Turns out it was a live set, so instead of straight up playing records, he used a midi controller and a couple other pieces of gear to re-create his music live on stage. And when I say arms swinging, I'm not joking: He didn't look dissimilar to one of the crackheads that dances for dollars in front of Tedeschi's on Mass Ave.

He cut through a 20-minute warm-up featuring mostly his own works (including the miraculous transition from his "I Feel Like Dying" remix into "Zodiac Shit," depicted in the above video), before moving into a hip-hop portion. And even when he just started pressing play on his laptop, the gesturing didn't stop, imploring us all to hoot-and-holler along to "T.R.O.Y," "Duel of the Iron Mic," and "Yonkers." I was seemingly the only one rapping along to Hov's "U Don't Know," indicative of the evening's crowd -- heavily blunted Berklee beatheads, who looked somewhat underwhelmed by the hip-hop showcase, but sprung back to life when he dropped a Weather Report jawn. He then wrapped the set with a couple more of his classic cuts and an always welcome tribute to the late great Dilla (video below).

The sound at Royale cracked like I've never heard it crack before. At one point, a couple of stray pieces of confetti rained down from the ceiling. I like to think it took the low end rumble that only FlyLo can deliver to finally dislodge the confetti stuck up there from whatever atrocious New Years party was held there nine months ago. Truly feel bad for whoever had to dance around in my puddle of sweat following the transition over to the club upon the all-to-early end of his set 9:15.

Also worth noting, the house speakers played the new Thundercat disc both before and after his set. That was cool.

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