Photographs by Dakota Arsenault.
When a stage is blocked with a massive projector-screen box for Flying Lotus’s set, there really isn’t much room to work with, especially when a three piece band is to play. With their tiny area, Thundercat and friends made do with the restrictions as if they weren’t even an issue at all. In his stylish-as-faux jacket, acclaimed bassist Thundercat set a suave mood to the evening already. Then the music began, and every second of their set was a testament to how alive the modern jazz scene still is. With such technical proficiency, the band didn’t even miss a beat. They were playing their respective instruments so quickly that it’d be nearly impossible to tell if they even did. Each song would start and end in an organized way, but almost every song had their own freak out jam sessions in the middle that could have, frankly, gone on forever if possible.
It’s hard to lead up to an elaborate show like Flying Lotus’s, but Thundercat had absolutely no problem. He was calm, professional and solid. He was truly in the zone, enough so that he even had a bit of an issue trying to respond to a fan. With someone yelling the common internet meme “It’s over 9000”, Thundercat was about to say something afterwards; He then just froze, shrugged and carried on his way. He thanked us a number of times, and all of his interactions with the fans were so collected. With, by far, some of the best drumming, keyboard playing and, of course, bass playing that I’ve seen this year, Thundercat were a trip down many corridors that people can truly use. A good opening band will serve as a great lead in, but a great opener will challenge the audience to expand past the artist they have even come to see. With Thundercat, we got a perfect compliment to Flying Lotus’s dream like set, and we also were reminded that we should check out some of the jazz classics that were a huge influence in their lives. Flying Lotus’s set was one of my favorites of the year by far, and Thundercat and friends helped make the entire evening into one of the more complete shows of 2014.