by Myke Menio
The second time that I saw Dopapod was much different than my first. This was my first trip to the Waiting Room in Buffalo and I was happily impressed. The venue is spacious, clean and has a huge bar. With great beer on tap, nice clean bathrooms and free parking, the Waiting Room has those nice little touches that help the concert experience along. When Dopapod hit the stage, iconic looking drummer Neal “Fro” Evans was missing. Scotty Zwang has stepped into the role for the rest of their fall tour (via their facebook page). Apparently “Fro” is dealing with some personal matters and Scotty had just two days playing with the band under his belt. I was thoroughly impressed with Scotty as he did not seem to miss a beat. There were times during the show where he was not only holding the rhythm down, but helping to drive some of the jams.
The first set got things moving quite quickly, with “Black and White” and “Onionhead” as first set highlights. Setbreak occurred after the band encountered some keyboard problems. Following a quick intermission, the best music of night greeted the crowd of around 200. The first two songs, “Sonic” and “French Bowling” provided an array of improvisational music that hit on many levels. Dopapod was rocking, funking, and breaking jams all the way down before building back up to a fury. “Trapper Keeper” was perfectly placed and punctuated the risk taking reward of the improvisation before it.
Dopapod is a mixed bag for some. Much of their music can makes one get down like an elevator with Neil Peart’s drum kit in it. Other times, especially during long “jamtronica” sections, you may drift off, perhaps thinking about which flavor of ice cream to eat when I get home. With so many different genres that Dopapod delves into, that is probably to be expected. Regardless, Dopapod really brings it with their excellent musical skills.
Last time I saw Dopapod at Nietzsche’s on September 8th, 2012, I thought Eli Winderman (keyboards) completely dominated the show. This time around, Rob Compa (guitar) and Chuck Jones (bass) were much more of a factor at the Waiting Room. Rob is particularly impressive and tonight being his birthday, which the band seemed to feed on. Compa’s playing is creative and technically strong; every solo, riff or melody seemed to be unique and inspired, leading to moments where Rob is leading the jams on top of a strong bass line from Chuck. Eli was excellent during these Rob-led jams, using his creativity to enhance the sound rather than force the jam in a new direction.
When Dopapod laid down the funk, the crowd danced like they were on Soul Train, if only the bell bottoms and leisure suits had been replaced by flat brim hats and patchy beards. When Dopapod brought the hard stuff, the crowd’s energy was unmistakable. People jumping up and down, sweat becoming as abundant as Buffalo Sabres losses – make no mistake, with every twist and turn during the show the crowd was into it. Live Dopapod proves to be great fun to be around each and every time.