Papadosio and TAUK Play Cleveland’s House of Blues
A joyful, celebratory holiday spirit permeated the air at the House of Blues in Cleveland during two fantastic sets by Papadosio and opener TAUK on November 28th. While not exactly native sons of Cleveland, Papadosio’s many years of non-stop touring and festival appearances in the region gave the show a reunion-like, hometown vibe to the crowd, which set the tone for the night.
TAUK have been on a mad tear in 2014 and their reputation as consummate musicians and composers precedes them; it was clear that the word is out as the ample crowd clearly showed up early to see what all the hype was about. They did not disappoint the enthusiastic audience as they worked their way through material from their recent release “Collisions” as well some instrumental adaptations of some classic rock staples.
Isaac Teel’s gospel-influenced, intricate polyrhythmic drumming was on full display all night, perfectly balanced by Charlie Dolan’s precise, mature bass playing. Their groove together is simply massive. Alric “AC” Carter took the attendees through varied sonic territory during “On Guard” displaying his ability to build complex and multifaceted synthesizer layers while the Beatles classic “I Want You” gave him the perfect environment for some burning Hammond organ. Guitarist Matthew Jalbert often handles the lead melodies, weaving variations and solos artfully into the fabric of each song. The band has accomplished a cohesive sound combining an emotional, pensive mood with powerful, muscular musicianship; the sophistication was not lost on the attentive crowd which responded with raucous applause after their final song.
Papadosio took the stage and jumped right into their live staple “New Love” which was split in half and bookended the entire show. The band is big on symmetry in general: The stage setup places drummer Mike Healy directly facing Guitarist/Live guru Anthony Thogmartin, while brothers Sam and Billy Brouse (keyboards) are elevated flanking bassist Robert McConnel in dead center.
The symmetry is dramatically enhanced by their sophisticated LED screens which feature prominently in their stage show. Designer Jason Takahashi keeps a cue of video content which can be called upon to suit the mood of various song sections and improvisational moments. This stream-of-consciousness like approach, incorporating a mixture of sacred geometry, pertinent imagery of current events, and lyrically specific art can create and intensely powerful experience for the audience. At the closing notes of “Dream Estate”, a pulsating image of the state of Ohio was displayed to show their deep connection and appreciation for their longtime fans in their original home.
In the Livetronica world, Papadosio sets themselves apart primarily through their use of structure. Each section of their material has purpose, and through their many years of rigorous touring, they have mastered the art of achieving refined dynamics and timing. There are few bands on the circuit that share their ability to keep perfect flow throughout an evening of music. Healy’s frenetic yet controlled drumming fuses organically with McConnell’s powerfully rooted basslines, while Thogmartin’s triggering of drum loops and various effects creates complex, evolving textures. During the middle improvisation on “Stick Figure”, the Brouse brothers developed a series of synthesizer motives that culminated with a soaring, David Gilmour-like guitar line. After working their way through an extremely intense set , the band displayed their sense of humor by closing with 90’s hit “In the Meantime” by Spacehog, featuring Sam Brouse on guitar and lead vocals. They hit the stage for a sizable encore, ending with the second section of “New Love” before graciously thanking the electrified crowd.
New Love ->Mono>Paradigm, Dream Estate, Stick Figure, Cue, Madre, Snorkel, We Choose, In The Meantime