Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dopapod at the Gramercy Theatre

Eli Winderman, Rob Compra and Chuck Jones
Dopapod originated in 2007, playing at college basement parties in and around Boston, Massachusetts. It was an odd mix of musicians -- various members were committed to heavy metal, progressive rock, jazz and funk -- but they discovered that if they each brought his inspiration, they created a unique collective sound. The band's fourth and most recent album is 2014's Never Odd Or Even, which fans received as a free download. Dopapod presently consists of keyboardist Eli Winderman, guitarist Rob Compra, bassist Chuck Jones and drummer Scotty Zwang.

Dopapod performed a Phish after-party at the Gramercy Theatre tonight that started after 1 a.m. As Dopapod normally does, the band played for over two hours, featuring extended songs that were partly structured and partly improvised. Never mind that when the group played the same venue in 2014, the show was cut short when an overhead speaker caught fire. Adrian Tramontano of Kung Fu and the Breakfast guested on barely-heard congas for the full concert, and Craig Brodhead of Turkuaz played guitar on "Piazole." Towards the end of the evening, however, Tramontano moved to the keyboards, Winderman played drums, Zwang played the congas and Brodhead returned to play bass on "Onionhead." Throughout the set, songs melted into each other without pause, driven by steady funky bass lines. Aside from the two guest musicians, the biggest surprise was the band's debut of Talking Head's "Burning Down the House" about an hour into the set. Dopapod also mysteriously sneaked in quick snippets of what sounded like Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," Phish's "Bathtub Gin" and AC/DC's "T.N.T.," perhaps for humor's sake. Overall, the complex jams were crisp and fiery from beginning to end. The sporadic lyrics provided both hooks and hinges through the set. Luke Stratton's spectacular light show was perhaps a bit too much, however, possibly distracting from the music itself. Nevertheless, even when the musicians could not be seen due to the blinding lights, the band's deep grooves and intricate interplay stood out mightily.

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