FlyLo pays tribute to a late great and keeps the show about his music. But in 3D.

flying lotus photo
Flying Lotus

Flying Lotus (Stephen Ellison) returned to the Joy Theatre on Thursday after a two year break from performances in New Orleans. His last appearance ended when Ellison spiked the microphone and threw a tantrum onstage. 

“I did what last time?” FlyLo said towards the end of his set. “I don’t even remember yesterday.” 

Throughout the performance, Ellison paid tribute to the late Ras G, a producer and DJ hailing from the Los Angeles area who died in July of this year. Ellison told The New York Times that Ras G was a source of musical inspiration and support. In the same article, Ras G was described as, “part of the 21st Century musical vanguard.” 

Despite the somber subject matter, FlyLo kept an upbeat tone throughout the set. He smiled often and exuberantly from behind a new stage installation, which wouldn’t have been out of place on the set of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

flying lotus photo by emma sonnier FlyLo unveils a new stage installation, by Emma Sonnier

Flying Lotus’ genre-hopping sound blasted through the venue without a hitch and stayed true to his jazz-influenced form. One attendee said after the show, “It was not music. It was where art can go in the digital age.” 

Ellison’s 3D light show complimented his sound and brought a new dimension to his psychedelic visuals. At times, fans were reaching out to grab or fight off objects apparently rocketing toward their heads. Ellison asked the audience through a voice distorter, “Be honest with me--are you trippin’?”

flying lotus photo by emma sonnier We have no idea at this point, by Emma Sonnier

The audience, mixed pretty evenly between millennials and “cool” Gen. X’ers, laughed nervously as they blew more smoke back onto stage than the fog coming off of it. 

Maybe the smoke got to everybody, but the crowd was surprisingly awkward. The 3D glasses handed out to everyone allowed me to see behind me, revealing a sad scene of the young thrashing about while the old tried (futilely) to bounce their aging necks to the beat. As FlyLo finished his set, the crowd’s calls for encore went ignored as he quickly thanked us for attending, pump faked a spike of the mic and went backstage. Somebody whined and said, “Fuck Trump” as the lights went on, ruffling the feathers of some older folk who ended up chastizing the outburst. 

As everyone made for the exit, a member of the crowd surmised, “I didn’t realize he was jacked, dude.”

flying lotus photo by emma sonnier Flying Lotus at the Joy, by Emma Sonnier