Most people spent Black Friday obsessively seeking bargains or recovering from a food hangover, but a group of friends and I spent the day after Thanksgiving traveling to see one of our favorite bands, Papadosio. It was like a second family Thanksgiving dinner, but with music and debauchery instead of food and football. The group and I waited impatiently amidst the long slow moving line, spouting absurdities and doing whatever it took to keep our minds off of the frigid cold and barely moving line outside of Bogart’s. It didn’t matter what the conditions were, Papadosio has grown to be my favorite band and I would endure just about anything to see them perform. Thirty minutes later we entered the club just as Papadosio was beginning their set. They opened with a nice rendition of “The Curve”, starting the show with hard hitting jams and beautiful improvisations. Without stopping, the song segued perfectly into “Direction Song”. Direction is the first song off of their recently released double-disc album, T.E.T.I.O.S(To End The Illusion Of Separation). The live version surpassed the studio cut, featuring more amazing improvisation coupled with intricate soundscapes and well layered melodies. Without stopping, they seamlessly jammed into “Method of Control”, one of my personal favorites. Method’s powerful lyrics, crisp audio sampling of a man’s voice warning about the dangers in modern society, and beautiful soundscapes with heavy bass drops put a smile on my face and put a little pep in my boogie. When Anthony Thogmartin’s falsetto voice belts out an extended chant of the word control it seriously gives me chills.
The band flowed seamlessly into “By the Light of the Stars”, further showing how beautifully their music was flowing from song to song. The improvisation during this transition was possibly the best jamming of the show. They kept the crowd energized with dance invoking melodies and face melting jams. Dosio’s continued to produce intelligent music with a perfect combination of intensely crafted drum play and intricate soundscapes by the rest of the group. The song was a perfect end to almost an hour of non-stop jamming. The band took a brief moment to thank the crowd and briefly reiterated their message of togetherness and humanism using words instead of singing to further convey their idealism. The music started up again with “Monochrome”, a deeply layered track and also featured on their latest album. In true Dosio form, Monochrome began with dark electronic notes sounding like a church organ, followed by heavily bass driven beats with Thogmartin’s high-pitched voice belting out the lyrics. Robert McConnell, bass guitar, sent rumbling bass notes chilling throughout the crowd as the song continued. The song ended beautifully, a perfect ingredient in the musical journey the crowd was going through, with Papadosio perfectly guiding the way. Next, the music stopped momentarily as the band treated the crowd to something special. In rare fashion, the band allowed one of their friend’s who is also a hip hop artist to come out and deliver his message about the world with hip hop rhymes. It was very interesting, to say the least.
Dosio started playing again as their friend exited the stage, with the notes to their feel good track “The Sum” beginning to resonate through the club. Sam and Billy Brouse, keys and synth, provided the beautifully crafted melodies of the song, while Thogmartin sang the beautiful words while strumming his guitar. Couples began to hold each other tightly to the deeply beautiful lyrics and music on display. The rest of the crowd’s bodies swayed and eyes twinkled as warmness filled the venue. I stood exactly in the middle of the packed crowd, turning around and observing what everyone was doing during the beautifully surreal moment. It was magnificent, the epitome of a live music experience. It was clear Dosio was about to take the crowd on a transcendent journey when I recognized they were playing their classic psychedelic track, “Improbability Blotter”. The band raged, the crowd moving in a trance-like wave as the band reached the crescendo of their set. The incredible improvisation of the first half, combined with the beauty in the middle, culminated with the band coming at the crowd raging harder than at any other point during the show. In a night filled with Dosio playing much of their new material, “Improbability” was the perfect addition. The crowd went bonkers as the band flowed from beautifully crafted soundscapes, into face melting guitar riffs with Mike Healy simultaneously pounding away on the drums, then into high energy use of electronics with heavy guitar riffs, and flowing perfectly back into beautiful soundscapes. I stood in awe of the massive crowd pulsating as the band controlled the crowd’s every move like puppet masters.
The excellent set ended, but in typical fashion the crowd cheered for more. Fans belted out “DO-SI-O” over and over until band members finally reentered the stage. Papadosio chose “Paradigm Shift” for the encore. The music began with Healy masterfully pounding away on the drums as the rest of the group held the music together. As the song continued, Thogmartin used the guitar to take the crowd on one final musical quest. The Brouse boys continuing to create perfectly timed melodies on the keys and synth. With ease and precision, McConnell used the bass guitar to bring the tempo down, easing the crowd toward the end of the show. I truly hoped Papadosio wouldn’t stop playing, but were selfish wishes as they had already played a spectacular show. Every Papadosio show I attend is a musical journey heightening my consciousness and further showing why they’ve become my favorite group. Going to see these guys never gets old, with each show displaying their musical genius and deeper message for the universe. I can’t wait to see them again at Earth Night on 12/21/12. If that day does prove to be the final day on Earth at least I’ll with friends watching this incredible band produce beautiful music. If you can’t make that show and the world continues after that date, don’t miss Papadosio coming to The Bluebird in Bloomington on January 29, 2013. I’m sure they’ll deliver an amazing show, as always.
Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images
Written by: Alex Toy