Saturday, November 13, 2004

Alpharhythm, Confucious and Lotus

(Arc Cafe, 12 November)

I was dubious about this gig. I knew of Lotus as the vocalist on a number of tracks produced by various producers of electonica - such as Rhian Sheehan's "Waiting" as well as others by the Nomad and Rhombus. She (Lotus Hartley) has now put out a CD of all her vocal efforts, and this was the CD release party (which is a little odd in that the CD was neither mentioned nor to be seen). I really didn't think it was going to work, didn't know of anyone going but when I heard that Confucious was doing support, that tipped the balance.

I can't actually say much about the Alpharythm/Confucious support, as it was pretty much two hours of undifferentiated beats and bleeps, quite pleasant but not enough to get me on the dance floor. I'm not even sure when one support act started and the other finished - every so often a fellow would come up on stage and play around with a laptop for a few seconds, and that was about it in terms of the visual aspect of the gig. There were a couple of turntables set up, but they were obscured by the speaker, so I was a little surprised when it was all over that a fellow emerged from behind the decks - I'm not aware of what contribution he made or even who he was. The joys of gigs by producers of electronic music.

By the time Lotus started, I was yearning for something human. She seemed to appreciate that, kicking of with her Rhian Sheehan-produced "Waiting" and then asking the extremely sparse audience if we were all OK. It was an interesting experience listening to this live, because not only did she have Rhian's music coming out through the house sound system but she also had a three piece band (with Confucious on bass, an un-named Hartley brother on guitar and a fellow with no name at all on drums). For each song, Lotus would pause and say who had produced it - I was surprised by the fact that I knew pretty much all the songs, even if I didn't recognise the names of all the producers (I've only vaguely heard of Freq and there was another fellow called, from memory, Slowcut).

I have to say that a Rhombus track (Distance) is so much better when its the vocalist without Rhombus than the reverse - the one and only Rhombus gig I've been to was missing the vocalists and was only saved by the fact that they had the guys from _sense_ to give some vocals.

By the time Slumber came round, a song she produced with her "nobody" other brother, I think we were all pretty much enchanted, feeling the joy, big idiotic grins on our faces. I know I looked around at the scenester chick dancing beside me, someone who normally gives no sign of any knowledge of my existence, and she was smiling at me so broadly I thought we were about to have sex. Alas, there was only one more song with the band in Lotus's bag of tricks, another she produced herself, and then it was pretty much all over. Sure, she did an encore, a slow, jazzy number she'd sung for Twinset, but that song came from a completely diffferent mood - as Lotus said as she started - it was the sort of song to grab a partner for. Not much good for loners.

Still, it was a beautiful set and Lotus seems like a really lovely person as well as being a great singer. As soon as I can actually find someone selling her CD, I'll buy one.


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