Papadosio’s NYE Run Review
Dec. 31st, The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
Jan. 1st, The 8×10, Baltimore, MD
Jan. 2nd, Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD
by Michael Tucker
photos by Roger Gupta
2015 was a tough year for many of us: a year full of ups and downs, tough lessons and opportunities for growth in ways that often felt uncomfortable. One of the musical highlights of the year for me was the release of the brilliant, full-length album, Extras in a Movie by Papadosio on which the band masterfully added a sizzling, rich nineties guitar rock element to their already potent blend of psychedelic rock, groovy synthesizers, and heady electronica. Directly on the heels of the release of this fantastic record came the long awaited and well-deserved announcement that the boys would be playing their own gig on the main stage at Red Rocks. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out Dosio was playing another two night run in the Baltimore/DC area for New Years. (This soon turned into a three night run – more on that later.) I grabbed tickets as soon as I was able and was all set to ring in the New Year with my favorite group of musicians along with the crowd of beautiful human beings who tend to gather at their shows.
In true 2015 fashion, my New Year’s Eve got off to a rocky start. While jamming out to some tunes and getting ready for the trip to DC for the show, I found my beloved cat, Pandora lying in my bedroom in a great deal of pain, having a terrible seizure. I honestly wasn’t sure if she would survive long enough to make it to the vet. We did make it to the emergency vet, but I received the devastating news that it was likely she wouldn’t live through the night as she was having severe neurological issues. It was up in the air for a while if I would even be able to attend the show, but my wonderful partner, Tara assured me that our kitty was in good hands and that the positive vibes and music at the show would do nothing but help the situation. With the cat given over to the able hands of the emergency vet and her pledge to stay in touch via cell phone, we headed to DC for the show in need of some musical healing.
Upon checking into the hotel, we were greeted by warm and friendly hugs from fellow Dosio family members who were also checking in and enjoying the complementary, warm, chocolate chip cookies at the Doubletree along with us. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, and walked the short walk over to the Fillmore in Silver Spring just in time to check out the heady guitar rock of Chon. We were surrounded by the familiar smiling faces of the regular fam. members. It was stunningly beautiful the amount of hugs, love, support, concern and positive energy that we received from family, new and old, as we told them about our dear Pandora. Mr. Shawn Dylan, not only the face, but the heart and soul of the Papadosio family concert experience, in particular, gave us some truly memorable extra love when he heard about our distressed feline family member.
Before we knew it, the golden moment was upon us and Anthony, Billy, Mike, Rob and Sam took to the stage in all their glory. After an instrumental, warm, “grainy intro”, they launched into the uplifting, anthemic “Find Your Cloud” and the healing power of music washed over me. I smiled as tears of joy welled up in my eyes and knew in that moment I would be OK no matter what the future held as I danced my butt off. Surprisingly, the screens with the brilliant visual show as a backdrop were not present this time around. Even more surprisingly, they weren’t even missed. In their place, the light show was taken to the next level with a beautiful stark geometry and perfectly illuminated the nuances of chemistry between the band members, somehow making the whole experience all the more intimate. You know when the boys pull out a big gun such as FYC right out of the gate that it’s going to be a special night-and they didn’t disappoint. . The entire crowd seemed to move as single entity. Playing a mix of songs from the new album, such as “Ritual” and “Anima Mundi” as well as an interesting new take on the dancefloor rager, “Method of Control” and a rendition of “Night Colors” that literally shook the venue, Dosio played at the top of their game all evening. The highlight for this guy happened right at the countdown to midnight as the opening riff build up to “Epiphany” filled the room. It was almost too perfect for words. The entire crowd enthusiastically raised their arms in the air as “Epiphany” euphorically brought 2016 crashing in with the gorgeous baritone to falsetto swell of Sam Brouse’s golden vocals in the song’s ecstatic, gigantic chorus-“ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaah”- right as the clock struck midnight. And that’s not to mention the truly epic crunch of the tune’s nineties-sounding guitar stylings: the stuff that dreams are made of. It was so, so right on-a truly magical, musical moment that I’ll remember forever. “New Love” closed out the show before we knew it. We met some new friends after the show and called it a night.
New Year’s Day was off to a good start: the vet called us with the fantastic news that Pandora was 1000 % better and would be able to be picked up in the afternoon. Tara was right as usual, and miracles do happen. Remember earlier when I mentioned that the two night run turned into three? So, the awesome, super cool Nick Thrasher and the aforementioned legend, Shawn Dylan had arranged for the boys to play a secret PA set at the 8 x 10. The scheduling gods at work were not kind to me this time around, and I had to sit this one out. It really stung to miss this once in a lifetime event, but I still have a job, and as they say, “two out of three ain’t bad.” I did get to hear lots of blissful stories from friends who were there.. I suppose I will live it vicariously when it drips or shows up on archive.org.
January 2. Soundstage in Baltimore. We stood in a sea of lovely people, Healy-side (translation: in front of the best live drummer around) still buzzing from the delightfully soulful opening set from the incredible, soulful Nth Power waiting for round two. It was a pleasure to reconnect with some old friends we missed on NYE. The boys kicked off the evening’s musical brilliance with the emotionally resonant instrumental, “And This is What He Thought,” which kept swelling to unbelievably gorgeous crescendos of sound that took the entire crowd to the edge and back. From here, they launched directly into the favorite, “By the Light of the Stars” and Rob’s bass whipped us all into submission as we celebrated, danced and sang together. The boys topped all expectations which were really high after NYE and played in straight crush mode for the entire night. They played five songs from the new album, including the complex “Bypass Default” and the ode to nineties era radio music/clever critique of current radio fodder, “The Wrong Nostalgia.” The boys whipped out a special “Lack of Everything” which made me smile and think of my friend Rob Cathers whom I had met at Rootwire 2K13 during that very song. I hugged Rob after the show and we talked about how they had played our song. The highlight came for me with an extra- long, super special version of an old favorite, “The Big Smile” which turned into a crowd sing along, full of warm embraces. The encore brought us all full circle with the achingly beautiful “Cloud Found”: the opening number for the New Year’s show was “Find Your Cloud.” The boys then ripped into a “Curve” jam that shredded previous versions of the song and turned the song inside/out and upside down culminating in awesome celebratory dancing for everyone involved. After saying goodbyes and receiving many terrific hugs from friends new and old, I left the venue with my partner and friends. We walked around the corner to go back to our hotel and there stood none other than Sam Brouse whose piano, guitar, and vocal magic had given us so much joy these past few nights. I got to say thank you to him and of course, he was super cool and kind. This was another night I’ll remember always. My friend who came along (for his first Papadosio show that night) really summed it all up when he asked me back at the hotel, “Where has this been all my life?” I know I’m certainly grateful to have this in my life.
So my advice to all of you for 2016 is to go see some awesome live music and meet some incredible human beings. Be good to yourselves. Have fun. Laugh. Dance. Maybe take part in a few shenanigans. Cherish your loved ones: both humans and animals. Volunteer. Eat some fresh pineapple. And go see Papadosio if you are able: they are a band on top of their game right now. You can also subscribe to their channel on drip.com for a small monthly fee and listen to soundboard recordings of just about all of their shows while dancing around your living room. Hope to see all of you out there soon. Much love, musical healing and big blessings to each of everyone one of you in 2016.