Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Flying Lotus swooped into Sydney and captivated all attendees at the Enmore Theatre with showstopping visuals and psychedelic instrumentals. He entered the stage in a sleeveless cape like Raiden from Mortal Combat, which was ironic because all sensory overload could have led to some fatalities the way he bodied the set.
I sat back perched up in the upper seating area, reclining with a Jack & Coke in hand, with 3D glasses on marvelling at the stunning graphics I was looking at. He had a huge digital screen behind him which garnered everyone’s attention to each design, graphic and story being displayed.
Some graphics were divergent and free flowing, while others, like the opening “Children of the Void” scene, were linear. It began in a dry digital wasteland that seemed to resemble a desert somewhere in Australia.
At one point it caught fire and had loaded military tanks rolling through the land. There were beams of man-made danger, while animated tribal drums began to beat in unison with FlyLo’s production system.
These visual were much deeper than a Mad Max reboot; the 'Children of the Void' digital scene had kids on the front line donning the skins of wolves and tigers. In my opinion it depicted the impact that we're all having on the earth, and that these youngsters/cubs are ones that will be left to deal with our transgressions.
As the show continued, I was mesmerised by inferno backdrops and pinpoint oval beams, zooming in and out of microscopic designs that gradually revealed images that jumped out quicker than blood splatter in a Tarantino film. It was this exact build up and polished picturesque finish that kept everyone entertained.
One visual in particular depicted a small pathways of lines that incrementally became more detailed, and soon enough revealed architectural schematics so detailed that it could make the Death Star seem like a frivolous f*cking blueprint. I was blown away.
At one point I looked in my drink to make sure no one dropped a pinger on me because I really felt like I was tripping.
Another visual that comes to memory was one that resembled a germ moving down the blood stream, seamlessly vibrating through the veins while swaying through the body like an S-wave bumping to the beat of FlyLo’s sound board. There were random images of eyeballs, miscellaneous objects and colours bouncing off the stage that felt so tangible because of the 3D effects.
The music itself was top notch. He snagged features on the album from the most creative acts in music from young stars like Tierra Whack and Denzel Curry, all the way to Grammy winning R&B vocalists like Solange & Anderson Paak. The crowd went nuts when he played Black Balloon Reprise, and it almost made me want to go down to the lower level just to be in the mix.
My only critique of this show also ended up making the experience so fulfilling; the sounds, beats, and ongoing visuals took me into such a different headspace, that my attempts to keep up with each individual song was difficult. I was in such a trance that at one point I forgot how long I’d even been at the show. It was only until he put up his banner that I knew the show was on the cusp of its conclusion, and even then he still rocked out and debuted new music which featured Thundercat for another 30-40 minutes!
FlyLo gave fans in Sydney what they paid for which was quality music & visuals, but he also added in extra value by performing longer and giving fans a preview of new music. Some overseas artists come to Sydney to hit the beach, perform, see fans, get the bag and bounce.
– And there’s nothing wrong with that!
But if a fan decides to come to a show and commits to shelling out (X) amount of dollars and has to eat ramen for a week and then an artist is either...
Singing, or rapping off key with the background music.
Failing to set up any unique visuals or backdrop.
Mundanely flinging water bottles around the crowd like a mid-game Coach’s time-out for the whole show.
What did they really pay for? They could have just streamed the music and saved their money.
After the show I was faced with some questions.
“Have I actually gotten my money’s worth from all the shows I’ve attended in the past?
“What’s the actual value being proposed by artists when they charge ungodly ticket prices for devoted fans, and are they actually meeting or exceeding them?”
By the end of the show it made me realize that value encompasses more than just the music. It’s interacting with fans and giving them an experience that they’ll remember and want to share with others in the future.
Flylo is a shadowy prophet of the production game, similar to Madlib, but it’s his added-value, creativity and showmanship that continually brings out vibrant crowds anytime he announces a tour. He ensures that no night is ever the same, with both his music and visuals being improvised live by himself and the visual artists he works with. Some people speak things into existence, but people like Flying Lotus will show you greatness.