Another night at the Broadberry in Richmond, Virginia and yet another Dopapod show within a just a few days of the last at Sweetwater 420fest. After four shows with Dopapod, I am beginning to understand them better and becoming more familiar with their sound/catalog. The Broadberry has been the smallest venue I have seen them play, and it sounded great; I could hear every note clearly. Richmond has become a hotbed for musical activities and many newer Jam Bands come through on a regular basis.
Groove Fetish opened up the show and I got to catch a few songs from their set. They definitely made a strong showing for their final song, which was high energy and instrumentally sound. I was able to score a copy of their latest album, “See It All” and will be doing an upcoming review (after Twiddle and Midnight North.) I am most interested in their vocal arrangements and song structures but they have an impressive, original sound and have been working hard to gain recognition. Shout out to Drew Massey, drummer for GF who sat in with Dopapod, showing he can play with some of the best out there.
Listen here: http://music.dopapod.com/track/picture-in-picture-w-drew-massey
Lots of good things coming out of North Carolina. I look forward to doing a full review with Groove Fetish and watching their growth in the future.
Dopapod immediately shows versatility and smooth transitional work within the first song, “Psycho Nature.” Rob Compa has grown exponentially as a guitarist, showing his progressive skills on a fine Gibson, a change up from the PRS I had seen before; I personally like this sound better, it has a gritty and full tone that jibes well with their music. “Confabulation” is a strange, funky, groovy song, full of improvisation and fine changes, this may be my favorite song in Dopapods catalog. The drummer reminds me of Animal from the Muppets, beating the drums intensely with precision and power. Dopapods breakdowns are also reminiscent of Zappa, moe. and even, YES or ELP.
I met Steve the taper who was recording the show for archives. Dopapod is one of the only younger bands that still allow tapers at the shows and even leave some tickets for those that wish to record. This taping section and taping community is dying out. Steve and I discussed the ins-and-outs of the taping world, including his recording gear which is bluetooth accessible, allowing him to stand in the back and just watch as his gauges flash and move with the noise in the room and onstage. It's a shame that this part of the Jam community has not grown and with the use of soundboard files and copyright laws, it's getting harder everyday for these veterans to observe their passion .
Dopapod is on the cutting edge of Jam/Prog Rock mastery. Encompassing sounds from Disco Biscuits, moe. Pink Floyd and even the Grateful Dead, they are the perfect blend of light and dark, soft and heavy. Just when you think they can't go any deeper, they go in again and add another layer of musical intensity. Dopapod has the lightness of YES and the dark intensity of moe. The build-up and crescendo work is sparkling with raw unattainable energy that every band wishes they could have. You can hear the classically trained elements within the songwriting techniques themselves. While the band is still keyboard heavy, the sound-mix itself has gotten much tighter from the last few times I had seen them. I took some friends with me and I think they were impressed remarking, “Once they get going, they are actually really good."
Dopapod continues to be one of my favorite new groups on the scene but as I have said before, not because they stay true to the purity of the Jam but because their potential is outstanding. As I have noted previously, I still believe Dopapod should stay in the pocket longer, meaning stay in that groove just a bit longer and really draw the audience in. Sometimes, too many changes, at too many intervals distracts us. Use those Jazz standards and blues standards to your advantage and improvise at all costs. I also bought a poster from the merch booth, what can I say, I am a poster nerd, I love the design and the layout but when I got home I noticed the damage, bummer. Keep up the good work artwise, people still love posters.
Overall, Dopapod is growing at an exponential rate and one can see that growth from show to show and even week to week. I can see myself checking out Dopapod many more times if they continue to come through the area. They are growing, not only musically but their fan base has been getting bigger and bigger with every festival/tour performance. I wouldn't be surprised if this band blows up as some of the others fade away.
Jam Band Purist
*w/ Drew Massey from Groove Fetish on drums
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.