Capping off back-to-back explosive nights at Brooklyn Bowl, Saturday, March 25, brought the third and final Dopapod show of the run, closing one chapter and marking the beginning stages of their 26-date Spring 2017 tour. The last gig of the trifecta came in hot, feeding off of the energy from their two previous performances which broke out Chuck Berry tribute covers, birthday celebrations and fresh, unheard material from the prog-jam quartet, who recently reunited with their original drummer, Neal “Fro” Evans. As if an original lineup, a newly mapped out tour and debuting fresh grooves to their fans wasn’t enough of a natural high, a smiley Rob Compa, guitarist of Dopapod, dropped the news that he got engaged that very same day—giving a tight-knit Brooklyn Bowl crowd a handful of reasons to celebrate.
Paris_monster opened up the show for Dopapod faithfuls and while they seemed to be an alternative indie group to the naked eye, it became apparent the Brooklyn-based duo thrives in the midst of synth-pop, garage genres. From the second the music began, all eyes were drawn to the pig-tailed singer who exemplified an arsenal of talents by singing, playing the keys with one hand and impressively, the drums with the other. The two took the stage and while the bassist seemed mainly focused on the tunes, the singer’s vocals took command of the entire room, assumingly well-trained and practiced. The vocals shaped up to be that of a hypnotic and spiritual performance with a voice to be heard, climbing to the loudest crescendos and back down to minute whispers.
Their sound in its entirety had the capability of transforming and layering the noises of two men, into what sounded like a room of beaming musicians. Their experimental ties definitely drew to the Dopafans through their naturally unique tastes, although remaining incomparable to the headliner—something the crowd was more than willing to embrace. Once you get past the initial shock value of their arena-like sound and switchboard of genres, you come to realize the extreme talent and precision it must take to juggle vocals and keys while playing the drum with one hand, all while doing so with a picture of ease. Even if the music isn’t your style, you can appreciate the theatrical, confident and encapsulating performance the duo let loose.
Setlist: The Unclean, Hot Canyon Air, Moles, The Cause of it All, Ape, Important, Malcolm Hart, Had Damon Caught His Sloane, I Wanna Know If It’s Good To You, Baby*, A Vision Complete, Grandma, Water to the Well
Ready to close out a glorified 3-night run at Brooklyn Bowl, Eli, Rob, Chuck and Neal walked to their respective instruments and while most were taken by the lingering moment ahead of hearing their favorite tunes, my eyes couldn’t be peeled away from analyzing and chuckling over Chuck’s Led Zeppelin t-shirt, which most certainly was adorned with the members of KISS—a solid wardrobe choice with a clear indication the Boston-born group was ready to rock. The first set rolled out with fan-favorite hits like 2014’s Never Odd or Even tracks,“Picture in a Picture” and “Hey Zues! (Que Tal?)” with an abundance of covers and teases peppered throughout the introductory set. The first tease came upon Rob’s elated engagement announcement. While some heard the news via Facebook, others were delighted with the announcement from the beginning notes of “Here Comes the Bride.” Shortly after sharing the joyous milestone, the group delivered treat number two, which came in the form of a brand new song titled “Mucho.” Bringing their rock roots to the forefront of the famed Brooklyn venue, the group launched into a gratifying cover of Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard” with help from Paris_monster’s vocalist Josh and Jackson from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds on harmonica before closing set 1 with “Blast.” High energy was maintained throughout, as both the band and audience were able to feed off of one another’s positive energy and uncontrollable excitement. Compa specifically had an extra spring in his step, demonstrating impressive vocals throughout the night and absolutely manhandling his guitar. Who can say if it can be attributed to his engagement, raw talent or both- but Compa’s performance easily soared high over a Brooklyn audience.
The second set welcomed an enticing Chuck and Fro jam session and although some may be torn about the decision to replace Scotty Zwang with their original drummer, it was evident his skill on the drum kit was appreciated by most. Next came “Weird Charlie,” taking things back a few years to their Redivider days with “Bubblebrain,” complete with FABA teases, and “Vol. 3 #86” paired with top-notch technicolor lighting and teases of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Nirvana anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (which it most certainly did, with appropriately described, stagnant air in a venue that offers live music, bowling, plentiful food and drinks).
Dopapod’s lighting designer Luke Stratton never fails to disappoint—even when Fro manages leaves his haze fluid in Colorado. Eli grabbed the reigns during “Vol. 3 #86, ” as abundantly enthusiastic and rhythmic head nods ensued from his seat as his hands flew back and forth across the keys. “Indian Grits” unwrapped gifts like a “Watermelon Man” tease and “Stand By Me” jam—one that was unexpected. The 3-night stint came to a close with a “Psycho Nature” encore which left all in attendance chanting “eat, drink, breathe, sleep,” four essentials every fan must remember when left in amazement from Dopapod performances.
The quartet will continue to embark on their 2017 tour just ahead of the anticipated festival season. Compa and company will be riding the wave of excitement this year will continue to bring them—engagements, new music and touring, oh my!
Set 1: Plaese Halp!, Picture in Picture, November &, Here Come the Bride Engagement Announcement*, Hey Zeus! (Que Tal?), Mucho^ , The Wizard #, Blast
Set 2: Chuck and Fro jam, Weird Charlie > Bubble Brain •, Indian Grits %, Vol. 3 #86 +, Bahbi, Super Bowl
Encore: Psycho Nature
& Spottieoppiedopalicuous tease
* announcement of Rob and Becky’s engagement!
^ new song; debut
# Black Sabbath cover; w/ Josh from Paris Monster on vocal and Jackson from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds on harmonica
• FABA teases
% Watermelon man teases; Stand By Me jam
+ 7 nation army jam, smells like teen spirit teases