Lotus Plaza at Triple Rock Social Club, 7/11/12
with Hollow Stars and Fort Wilson Riot
Triple Rock Social Club
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Like his fellow Deerhunter bandmate Bradford Cox, guitarist Lockett Pundt has carved out a distinguished solo career in recent years via his Atlanta-based band Lotus Plaza. On tour in support of the recently released Spooky Action at a Distance, Pundt deftly orchestrated an absorbing hour-long set of looping and dense dreamlike pop which revealed that Lotus Plaza is more than just a solo project -- and there wasn't anything quite as jaw-dropping as Cox's "My Sharona" performance at the Cedar back in March.
The band's ten-song set was bookended by two pairs of tracks from the excellent Spooky Action. Even more so than 2009's The Floodlight Collective, this second Lotus Plaza album gives the sense that there is a rather delicate balance at the heart of Pundt's songwriting, a precise arrangement of elements too precious to flourish outside the hermetic safety of the studio.
Last night's unexpectedly visceral performance dispelled this notion as unflinching renditions of Spooky Action standouts "White Galactic One" and "Strangers" set a bold tone. Both are emblematic of the deceptively complex structure at play throughout each of the Lotus Plaza records. The catchy and frequently shimmering guitar hooks that announce Pundt's well-crafted tunes are looped alongside his melodic vocals, providing meditative sonic environments that often give way to transcendent codas.
This deceptively simple studio formula was complemented by the band's tranquil presence on stage; in particular Pundt whose metronomic swaying was matched by the taut, precise drumming that dutifully propelled the set forward. An adoring audience followed suit, frozen in their tracks for the most part, absorbed in the lush atmosphere.
Following a balanced selection of songs from Floodlight Collective and Spooky Action, the evening closed with a penultimate "Monoliths" setting the stage for a striking rendering of "Jet Out of the Tundra." As the song and the set came to a close, the members of Lotus Plaza turned towards each other, forming a huddled circle with their backs to the audience, transfixed by the same waking trance which had cast its spell across the room.
Personal Bias: I thought the material from Spooky Action at a Distance sounded better. Live and on album, the newer songs are more refined and reach for clearer, higher peaks, adding a welcomed dimension to the heavier, sometimes muddled tracks on The Flood Collective.
The Crowd: Adoring but not very large. Another small turnout at yet another great show.
Secret Wish: Hopes for an unexpected appearance by Bradford Cox went unfulfilled. His triumphant return to Minneapolis will have to wait...
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