FLYING LOTUS, THUNDERCAT and TEEBS at the Sound Academy, Wednesday, May 15. Rating: NNNN
You can't put Flying Lotus's music in a genre-defined box, which is fitting for a show that offers unbridled imagery and sounds you've probably never heard before.
FLyLo was here in October, and so was his Layer 3 show - a trippy feat of technology that sees Steven Ellison behind one translucent scrim and in front of another while animation swirls around him.
This time the team brought completely new animation. It's not a pre-recorded show. Strangeloop and Timeboy are in the back, dropping visuals precisely with the beats, making for one fluid assault on the senses.
The 3D seemed sharper this time, the projections more varied. It's a remarkable feat, made more so by the quality of the artwork, ranging from psychedelic shapes to animated street scenes to an exaggerated dragon monster reminiscent of Maori rock paintings.
FlyLo emerged from behind the scrim a few times, mostly as Captain Murphy, his rap persona, and was joined during the finale by Thundercat. It was great seeing them together, and the Sound Academy even seemed less like the endless bowling alley it usually does. Dividers cut the venue in half, making the space seem more intimate and appropriately shaped.
The openers were fantastic - and on time. Watching Teebs perform is the concert equivalent of taking a valium. You forget your worries as the orchestral electro washes over you. It's like being in a hot bath. You don't want to get out, but when it's over you feel refreshed.
Thundercat is known for his virtuosic bass playing, but his live singing was surprisingly stirring. While he was making his fingers fly - without seeming to exert much effort - he just opened his mouth and soul spilled out. He saved Heartbreaks + Setbacks for last - the lead single on his forthcoming album.
I declare it the song of the summer.