Two signs of a mature band hitting their stride and performing at their best in front of a live audience are versatility and crowd-control. Both were on display as Papadosio brought it hard at the House of Blues this past Saturday. This group has carved out a place amongst the best within their genre through years of tireless touring and continual refinement. In doing so, they’ve amassed a die-hard fanbase that always shows up. Exhibiting an original sound and tons of breadth within their talents, Papadosio wins crowds over by playing it both slow and fast. Shows like theirs are a breath of fresh air in this day and age, and as far as I’m concerned there can never be enough good jam and dance music breezing through the Windy City.
Dosio, no stranger to performing in Chicago, hails from Asheville, North Carolina and is currently in the midst of a nationwide tour. A self-proclaimed mixture of progressive rock, psychedelia, folk, electronica, dance, and jam, this quintet is multifaceted. Where some other groups may lose their focus trying out too many things, Papadosio uses this as a strength. A beautiful autumn day preceded by a tranquil night set the mood for Dosio’s effervescent vibe and I arrived feeling positive and ready to get loose on the dance floor. The ideal mindset one needs to harness and inject this type of music into their soul and let it make its purposed impact.
The show initiated with Papadosio playing it slow. When they ease you into their music the sound seemingly wraps around you and you float into another dimension. With eyes closed, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself rocking back and forth envisioning being cradled in a hammock on another planet amidst ethereal beauty and love. Tunes such as “Find Your Cloud,” “New Love,” and “The Bionic Man Meets His Past,” are textbook examples of the fluttery transformative musical expressions that Papadosio has masterfully taken ownership of. The intricacies in each individual performance intertwined with the energy of the crowd in a synergy that only happens when the band and spectators are all on the same wavelength. While this experience is subjective to each individual, it certainly felt harmonious
From this point on, Papadosio’s live show starts to feel more like a road trip through the mountains. The scenery is nice and you’re cruising in a Rolls Royce Phantom (not that I ever have), but this is how I’d imagine it to feel. You’re on the highway doing 65, it’s comfortable, you’re safe, and the ride is pillowy soft and luxurious. However, when you switch gears and punch the throttle your head is thrown back and your ass is glued to the seat. You’re hanging on for dear life and smiling like an idiot watching the speedometer accelerate to over 160 mph, everything is whipping past you at an alarming rate. What impresses me about Papadosio is their ability to do just that, switch gears without missing a beat to take you from the slow melodies that tip-toe around your senses to the fast beats which grip your soul and takes you on a thrill ride. When they dropped, “Method of Control” the crowd was jumping and jiving. It says a lot about Papadosio’s crowd control and pacing being at a professional level. As I was jamming out and dancing, I glanced to my left and to my right and noticed that every single person was bouncing. The camaraderie and connection was there.
Dosio’s show was complimented by a tight video board display and sharp lighting, never intrusive, but always adding to the music. The atmosphere was on point and The House of Blues deserves it’s praise of being a well-run venue in Chicago that caters to even the most die-hard music fan’s needs.
Overall I left this show feeling elated; so much so that I stayed around and mingled with strangers for a while outside of the venue and even managed to snap a great pic of some cool people still enjoying their night. Shows such as this are the reason why this genre of music and this culture can be deeply impactful; it’s really about connecting with others, enjoying some great music, and re-discovering our indigenous roots with the help of modern technology, instruments, and production. The jamtronica funky groove masters Papadosio are just the final piece of the puzzle to an inspiring evening. I hope I can catch them again next time they are in town.