EOTO Brings the Full Lotus Experience Back to Chicago
By Aaron Gi
It was a spooky Saturday night on October 27th at the Portage Theater. Many came out with Halloween spirit dressed in full costume. The Portage is an old fashioned cinema rarely used for concerts anymore, the venue is very unique and has a high school auditorium–like feel. Doors opened at 9PM and crowds arrived early to see special guest opener Jantsen. People began filing into the aisles and rows all the way up to the front, which from start to finish was a clustered mob of blood, sweat, and dreadlocks.
Jantsen started the night off right with his distinctive bass music, and high energy performance. Hailing from Boulder, Colorado he is no rookie to the underground world of glitch, having collaborated with many artists including Dirt Monkey, Stephan Jacobs, and even Bassnectar. Jantsen has created a name for himself on the scene and an unmistakable sound for his music. He played for about an hour, his set ranged from dirty dubstep, to some down tempo ambient bass music, to heavy up-tempo glitch hop. He ended the night with a massive drop and left the crowd at high energy and high anticipation. Jantsen is signed to Amorphous Music Label (Bassnectar’s label) and recently released his newest single “When The Beats Drop” through the label.
EOTO took the stage around 10PM, or maybe I should say the stage took EOTO. It was their first show in Chicago since the North Coast Music Festival after party, where Eoto premiered their one of kind 3D projection based “Lotus” stage set up, one of the most unique visual music experiences I have ever witnessed. The Lotus stage is a giant lotus flower, it is visually mapped out to images that could be described as obnoxiously psychedelic. Michael Travis (Guitar and Synths) and Jason Hann (Percussion and Vocals) perform inside of the flower while everything around them is projected onto the lotus and the screen behind them making for a concert like no other. The duo brings everything from dubstep drops to bongo solos throughout the visual journey that the lotus is simultaneously taking you on.
The first set started out quick with EOTO’s unmistakable frequencies, catchy grooves, and dirty drops. It was like an infusion of jazz, jam, and dubstep all at the same time. They came out hard dropping a lot of dub in the first hour and proceeded to build the energy steadily. The first set seemed like a preview and left the crowd hungry for more. When the music ended and the lights came back on for intermission it seemed like we had suddenly been returned to reality.
They took the stage again around 11:30 starting off set two with a much more laid back vibe than the first. When EOTO has time to really get into the groove rather than packing everything into a forty-five minute festival set it’s truly an experience. With their ability to improvise everything from dropping the beat, to jamming out over a synth line, to Jason Hann spitting a freestyle rap; when EOTO is getting down so is everyone else within hearing range. The set progressed into some familiar yet always changing jams and even a Marvin Gaye “Sexual Healing” cover. Their encore consisted of one of the most epic bass drops ever witnessed and it felt like they literally brought the house down. They left the crowd bewildered, disoriented, and slightly confused. Once the feeling of unfamiliar awkwardness resided there was a moment of clarity, but not really, it was more of a realization that the concert was over and you have landed back on planet earth. EOTO is an evolving musical celebration that everyone should partake in and is the reason Jason Hann is one of the faces of Ray John. Overall it was a night to remember, but most probably won’t.