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Live Review: Flying Lotus, Silent Jay, Om Unit

6 March 2014 | 2:06 pm | Stephanie Tell

With the floor buzzing beneath us and the crowd pulsating in feverous unison to an incomparable audiovisual display, FlyLo concludes an unforgettable live show.

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The smell of tobacco pervades the air and Forum Theatre's gaudy Greek statues suitably mirror the evening's IDM philosophy. “Obviously this is the place to be,” remarks a punter as an eager building crowd descend to check out Om Unit's reggae-infused dance set. It's a bass-heavy performance and includes what sounds like an instrumental version of Drop It Like It's Hot plus a slower take on Roots Manuva's Witness. Opening with a remix of Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Silent Jay then offers a nuanced collection of trebly hip hop beats to a packed, grinding crowd.

There's a lot of hype surrounding Flying Lotus (aka Steve Ellison)'s Layer 3 lightshow and what he actually delivers is nothing short of magical, completely smashing our high expectations. Fully enhancing his impressive mixture of magnetic glitch-pop and classic beats music, the stunning clarity and boldness in these imaginative visuals are breathtaking and technically brilliant. Dominated by a rippling, glossy blue, the animation warps and webs into various solid, wavering forms – like Windows Media Player on acid. The visuals are wonderfully overwhelming and certainly the focus of the show, but FlyLo's grasp of intricate, danceable electronica and endearing showmanship still permeate the set. Never approaching repetitiveness, it's broken up with a strong mix of old and new material, plus a healthy range of heady remixes of artists such as Drake, Clams Casino and even Queen. Twitching single Putty Boy Strut is a firm favourite, shrouded in projections of the eerie, mechanistic cartoon figures that feature in the song's video clip.

Encased by the three screens of projections, Ellison frequently emerges from the layer obscuring him to MC and engages with us, proving that DJs have come a long way from the 'mysterious figure behind a laptop' persona. He has the effect of a charismatic cult leader on this increasingly possessed crowd and generates an inclusive, jovial vibe. While fondly reminiscing about last year's Let Them Eat Cake performance, he gleefully realises he's somehow doused in two pairs of multi-coloured bras.


We're the first to hear new material from his forthcoming album – a “spoiler alert”, as he puts it – and Ellison's quick to stop the barrage of smartphones that start popping up. With the floor buzzing beneath us and the crowd pulsating in feverous unison to an incomparable audiovisual display, FlyLo concludes an unforgettable live show.