Here’s what happened during Flying Lotus’ headlining set at Sled Island 2017
Calgary, AB – From Jun. 21 – 25, the annual Sled Island music festival took over Calgary for a week of live shows and music throughout the city centre.
For this year’s festival, Flying Lotus was chosen as both the festival headliner, as well as the festival guest curator. As the guest curator, FlyLo was given the opportunity to choose a handful of performers on the festival bill including IGLOOGHOST, DJ Quik, Busdriver and Tierra Whack.
And on the evening of Jun. 24, FlyLo hit the stage at Palace Theatre to perform his own headlining grand finale festival set.
Photo by Sarah Jay
Sandwiched between two screens, Flying Lotus appeared as a darkened silhouette while movies, lighting, skulls, clapping emojis, and other trippy imagery projected on to the screens in front and behind him.
Flying Lotus’ set is a cinematic and deeply psychological experience. He’s really developed a knack for film-making lately, and that’s obviously also carried over into his live performance (he even teased us with some of his film work towards the end of the set). If anything, the set was equally – if not more – focused on the visual component, as it was focused on the sonic side of things.
Even FlyLo’s movements behind deck seemed to be intentional. He frequently flicked his hands in the air in motions that were ever reminiscent of both a mad scientist as well as of an orchestral conductor. At times the lights in the venue would all go to black except for a single red glowing light, illuminating FlyLo’s Cheshire Cat-like grin as he looked out into the crowd.
“At times the lights in the venue would all go to black except for a single red glowing light, illuminating FlyLo’s Cheshire Cat-like grin as he looked out into the crowd.”
There are two kinds of crowd reactions that signal an amazing live performance: the kind of reaction where people turn up and get rowdy AF, and the kind of reaction where people are so engrossed and affected that they just stand there – without moving – with their eyes glued to the stage. FlyLo’s set was a mix of both. When he performed his edit of Travis Scott’s “Antidote” and his Kendrick Lamar assisted “Never Catch Me” (off You’re Dead!), the crowd got hype. But for the most part people just stood in silence for the set, transfixed by FlyLo’s on-stage silhouette and trying to make sense of everything that was going on.
Near the end of his set, FlyLo took a minute to come out from behind the screens to shake hands with the crowd and express his gratitude to Calgary and Sled Island. He then surprised the audience by bringing out Philly spitter Tierra Whack as a special guest. One of the artists that Flying Lotus chose to perform at Sled this year, Tierra Whack is a bubbly little firecracker with a brand of music that falls somewhere between melodic PBR&B, and bar-centric raps. Her songs are all set on a foundation of killer drum lines, and she balances it out with a softer vocal approach.
“…Tierra Whack is a bubbly little firecracker with a brand of music that falls somewhere between melodic PBR&B, and bar-centric raps.”
She actually put on one of the best sets of the entire festival earlier on in the day at Broken City. So anyone who missed that show got a nice little teaser as she performed for the crowd and then jumped into the audience for a crowd surf.