No Fires Necessary: Dopapod Storms Philly With Album Release Party
Let me tell you a little something about the quirky quartet that goes by the name Dopapod: They’re on fire right now. Quite literally. This past Friday they had to cut short their show at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre after one of the venue’s speakers caught fire.
Yep, that’s right. Standard equipment just can’t handle these guys.
After this minor snafu in New York, Dopapod went on to take Philadelphia’s District N9NE by storm the very next day. Luckily, no actual fires materialized this time around and the band’s second album release party went on without a hitch. Fans in attendance saw some superbly executed music from the headliner as well as opening acts Tweed and The Main Squeeze, complete with a surprise collaboration.
The collaboration took place during the performance of the second opening act, The Main Squeeze. Keep your eye on these chipper Chicagoans whose unique funk-fusion sound can raise even the lowest of spirits with its messages of love and positivity. You’ll smile, you’ll dance, you’ll laugh…you may even shed a few tears of pure joy. Beyond the lyrics and melodies, the band infectiously spreads happiness over its fans with every animated performance. Many musicians are passionate about what they do (as they should be), but passion doesn’t accurately encapsulate the zeal and love instilled into each note this quintet’s music. They relish in each other’s successes – you need only look to vocalist Corey Frye’s expressions and gestures during purely instrumental segments of the show. The support and love they clearly have for one another surely contributes to their outstanding ability to read one another so well on stage.
Yet the musicians of The Main Squeeze proved that their skill of on-stage, non-verbal communication goes beyond each other when Dopapod guitarist Rob Compa joined them on stage to cover Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar.” Pink Floyd is a classic example of successful fusing of genres, and therefore a perfect choice for this collaboration. And the bluesy yet spacey vibe of the track is something that both the Main Squeeze and Dopapod have worked into their own repertoire. The entire ensemble nailed the performance, making it clear the amount of work that went into preparing for it. But the way Compa fit into the picture suggested this was something more than mere preparation. He and Main Squeeze guitarist Max Newman channeled each other so well that at times it was hard to tell where one stopped and the other began. The energy between the two was so palpable that even Frye (who had gone to the back of the stage during an extended dual guitar jam) was wildly gesturing his excitement at their success, at one point fanning them from afar with a hand towel.
The audible fire continued when Dopapod finally took the stage. Fire was, of course, the theme of the night, with the set break music consisting of fire-themed ditties like Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” The funky foursome then began their set with the very end of “Vol. 3 #86,” where they left off when the previous night’s fire prematurely ended their show, and perfectly transitioned into Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” Doing Hendrix justice is no easy feat, but the band managed with flying colors, from the frenetic heartbeat and backbone created by drummer Scotty Zwang and bassist Chuck Jones, to the richly toned, deeply melodic soul forged from the growling vocals of keyboardist Eli Winderman and Compa’s vicious shredding. The boys would take it back to where they began during the encore, when they began teasing “Fire” while playing “Black and White,” a classic off their second album Drawn Onward. While the band had a top notch performance all around, the second set was especially impressive and laden with skillfully blended improv. With a “Dracula’s Monk” into “Like A Ball”, a “Priorities” sandwiched into “STADA,” and an “Onionhead” seamlessly flowing into a perfectly orchestrated “FABA,” the second set was dominated by both expertly executed segues and jammed-out versions of songs off the band’s newly released album Never Odd Or Even.
The evening of music both highlighted the new album and reflected Dopapod’s longstanding reputation for defying classification and genre-typing, truly fitting for an album release party. The band continues to push the boundaries of improvisation and this past Saturday at District N9NE was certainly no exception. The band continues its Fall Tour the first week of December, and also has an extensive New Years run planned – you can check out their full tour schedule here.