It was a cold, frigid evening as I traveled up the highway to Winchester, Virginia. This small quaint town is filled with history; mostly from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Many monuments, museums, and plaques are displayed throughout the downtown area where the Bright Box is located. History was certainly made that night, not some war history, but musical history. The one-of-a-kind Prog-Jam-Rock band, Dopapod, may have laid a set down for the ages in the intimately situated venue. I have been to the Bright Box before but this time, there was no stage: The band was on the floor, eye to eye with the audience and almost completely surrounded by people. At one point, Neal "Fro" Evans, the drummer, even had someone from the audience help him on drums. That is how intimate this was. I situated myself as close as I could and really got to watch this band work as a unit. Dopapod is prodigious, raw, and tight. They work together as one, as a family. Bringing something entirely new and creative to every performance. You honestly never know what you will get with these guys. Case in point, they covered an amazingly funky version of Rammstein's "Du Hast." This was absolutely hilarious and unexpected. I did not think I would be dancing to "Du Hast" when I arrived at this show. This is another instance of Dopapod taking chances and having fun.
Oh yeah, before I forget! The opener Eggy was also impressive and fun. I wasn't able to catch the entire show but what I did see was high-energy and thought-out material. This band also works well together and seems to be pushing each other to play better and better. Opening up for Dopapod is also a great experience learning firsthand how to create jam transitions and keep the audience in the palm of your hand. I would check out Eggy again for a full review.
Back to Dopapod; Rob Compa is a wizard on the guitar. His playing is diverse and melodic: sometimes preferring the groove over the solo, which takes a lot of willpower with that nasty rhythm section. Bassist, Chuck Jones always with a smile on his face. Eli Winderman has seemed to allow the other guys to grow and pursue their own sounds. At times, I think of Eli as the bandleader but now it seems everyone is on equal musical terms, and it's amazing to watch this band grow together and separately. This pandemic has changed a lot for everyone especially musicians but I could tell Dopapod was having so much fun on stage, laughing, dancing, and talking shit into the mics to one another. The audience was fully committed and hooked to the music. There wasn’t one person there that was standing still. This truly felt like a house party show. Like you just say went over to your buddy, Benjamin Bumblebees, house to see some new band formed in the basement. But it’s actually a top-tier Jam band playing for themselves and loving it. Dopapod isn’t afraid to try new things, mess up, or completely flub because that’s what creating improvisational music is all about; taking chances. And Dopapod takes more chances than them all, combining every genre into a magical soup, boiling it down into a potion, and serving it spoonful by spoonful, tasty jam after tasty jam; until you are filled to the brim and it all explodes inside you! Ok, did I get carried away?
I had to add the setlist here just for posterity purposes. This show truly was one for the history books.
I: Trickery, Garbage Man, Trapper Keeper^, Onion Head > Du Haast* > Onion Head > Hi Doggie, Picture in Picture+
II: Cloud World, Vol. 3 #86 -> Fannie -> Vol. 3 #86, Best Friends, 8 Years Ended -> Velcro, Piazole
+W/ Jake Brownstein from Eggy on guitar
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.