“Can I hear the fucking roar right now please!”
This is clearly a demand, not a request, and the audience at Brixton Academy do not disappoint Flying Lotus, as he revels in the sweaty, Friday-night glory of his biggest London show to-date.
Separated from the audience, towards the back of the stage, FlyLo spends most of the set hunched over his laptop inside a sort of sci-fi cage structure, a spellbinding all-encompassing light-show whirlpooling around him.
We are plunged through space, towards misty faraway galaxies and next find ourselves in something reminiscent of the Bladerunner set. At one point it almost could be a Kraftwerk set: man and machine in total harmony.
The shuddering bass – the kind you feel in the bottom of your stomach – lends tracks like ‘Dead Man’s Tetris’ a dirtier, grimier quality that is missing from the recorded versions. The set propels between genres in the same way that FlyLo’s back catalogue does, and the appearance of other figures onstage (including our man himself as masked rapping alter ego Captain Murphy) adds to the sense of a mash-up: one minute arms-in-the-air, bouncing hip hop, and the next into a Chic-like groove with bassist-cum-MC Thundercat on ‘Oh Sheit It’s X’, seducing the crowd with some shiny 70s-inspired funk.
When FlyLo/Captain Murphy gives the crowd ‘Complexion (A Zulu Love)' we could be at a block party in New York, or at spring break on a California beach. For an artist with such an elusive (and at times inaccessible) output, it’s impressive how he can connect with so many, and such a variety, of music fans.
And at just an hour, it’s all over. The set feels like it ends abruptly, as if it should have carried on til morning – like all the best raves do. But if he can pack out Brixton Academy on a Friday night, and leave the audience wanting more, one thing’s for certain: he’ll be back.