Electro-turned-jam band Lotus performs at The Westcott Theater

With dreadlocks and glow sticks coiling through the air, students and locals alike grooved to the electronic waves generated from one of the most popular jam bands touring today. Feet shuffled through nearly an inch of spilled booze, hands were thrown into the stratosphere and the explosive light show shimmered off of a sea of dilated pupils — the crowd was ecstatic, electric and deeply inebriated.

“This is my first Lotus show. It’s some of the best music to get f***ed up and dance to,” said Age Salmon, a senior public relations major.

On Wednesday evening, the electro-jazz jam band from Indiana played a sold-out show at The Westcott Theater. Formed at Goshen College in 1999, Lotus has been playing on the jam band circuit for five years, and has developed a serious following of electro fans as well as fans of jam and jazz genres.

Lotus has been known to headline many jam festivals, and has played in Syracuse a number of times.

Opening for the headliner was a beginning act that many audience members said was unlike any other. Electro-jazz fusion group Moon Hooch set the stage with ebullient jazz overtones produced by tenor, alto and baritone saxophones accompanied by a semi-electronic drum kit.

Moon Hooch, formed in New York City, got their start playing in the subway and taking advantage of the reverberation and acoustic sounds produced from the tunnels. Moon Hooch’s distinctive sound can be related to that of dubstep, however, the sound achieved has an organic tone due to the use of sax over-synth — their influence, while heavily electronic, is mostly jazz.

“We are all big fans of Coltrane,” said drummer James Muschler. “Our style really came about as an accident. We were students at the New School in NYC focused on jazz, and one year Wenzl [McGowan] went to learn how to DJ electronic music on a cruise ship, and when he returned he had ideas for all sorts of new original material. What you hear is what came out of our collaboration with jazz, electronica and each other.”

Moon Hooch’s opening set was received with great exuberance, loud cheers and a theater-wide request for an encore, unusual for an opening act.

Senior English and textual studies major and longtime Lotus fan Nate Haddad was surprised by the quality of the opening act.

“Moon Hooch was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” says Haddad. “I’ve been to nine, maybe even 10 Lotus shows, and I’ve never seen a no-name opening act received as well as Moon Hooch was.”

After a brief intermission, Lotus took the stage, and those who spent the musical abeyance smoking cigarettes outside quickly tossed their butts at the sound of the first note, rushed inside and began to squeeze as far toward the front as they possibly could.

As Lotus began their three-hour-long groove session, fans moved with the music, flinging beer through the air and sweat out of their hair.

Lotus played many fan favorites, including their high-octane version of the Zelda video game theme song and a few new songs to promote their upcoming album “Build,” due out in February.

Senior State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry student Colin Mullin, who is a longtime fan of Lotus, said the show was entertaining, exciting and just as good as the previous show he attended.

But to junior child and family studies major Amy Scicutella, it was only after she was embraced by a complete stranger that the Lotus fan was able to express her true feelings about the show and the venue.

Said Scicutella: “Syracuse is all about status. I’m from a small town where we don’t really believe in that, so when I come to Westcott and see a show like Lotus, I feel like it’s home because everyone is so nice, loving and accepting.”


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