PHOTOS / REVIEW: Dopapod @ Acoustic Cafe, Bridgeport, CT 2/22/12

It had been a long and tiring day, but not for a moment did I hesitate to venture down to Bridgeport to check out some good music. High five to Mother Nature! It was a beautiful and warm winter evening and I was able to leave my jacket in the car. Love it when that happens!

According to Urban Dictionary, patchouli is a “hippie perfume…smells like forest, pot and snuggling.” Well that mixed with the smell of Nag Champa completely slapped me in the face the moment I stepped foot inside of The Acoustic Cafe. The venue is quaint and narrow with a small but deep stage. Made my way to the bar and there were homemade Margarita and Chambord flavored cupcakes for sale. While waiting for the bartender to pour me a plastic-cupful of white wine (it was only Wednesday, people), I saw Eliís vintage 1970’s Hammond with some graffiti sitting on the stage, just waiting to be played. I walked around the stage a bit to get my bearings straight. The lighting tech was running around to make sure the lights were all in place, and there was a guy front and center setting up a stationary video camera with another hanging around his neck.The house music was mellow and smooth which led to an overall calm vibe in the room. It was going to be a good show. We could all feel it in our bones.

My timing was perfect. Just moments after I gotten in and settled, the band slowly took stage one by one. First Rob Compa (on guitar), then Chuck Jones (on bass), Neil ìFroî Evans (on drums) slipped in through the back stairs and finally Eli Winderman (on keys) walked on and sat down. There was no grand gesture to start the show. Like dipping your toes in the water before you dive all the way in, they began with a smooth number to warm us all up for the rage that was in store for us through the rest of the evening. They began with “Black and White,” the second track off of their latest release Drawn Onward.

God bless a band that has a talented light technician. Luke Stratton kept my head turning in all the right directions by providing the perfect hue for my pictures. The colors combinations were surreal and perfectly paired together.

I had taken a timeout to jot down some notes and what did my wondering eyes appear? Tim Palmieri from CT based band Kung Fu with GUITAR IN HAND! I then spotted his bandmate, Rob Somerville, with his saxophone in hand. The last time I had seen Kung Fu & Dopapod together in the same room, I was on a boat in the Boston Harbor last summer, there were costumes involved and it was awesome. And as if this show wasnít already exhilarating enough, they had to go in and throw this at us! My excitement continued to build.

Rob (Compa) introduced their next song titled “#3, Volume 86.” It was a new slong and it included some lyrics, which are not typical for the band. Not that either of those two things are a negative…the song rocked!

It was time. Rob and Tim grabbed their instruments and were warmly welcomed on stage by not only the band, but the fans as well. While they were getting plugged in, Eli was playing around on a new little toy of his; a mysterious sound box that was just plain out mesmerizing. All was set and ONWARD they all went into a nice little Jimmy Herring cover, “Scapecoat Blues.”

The boys had all discussed in advance the next song up: a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover, “Sikamikanico.” It was featured on the Wayne’s World soundtrack and also the B-side of RHCH’s “Under the Bridge” single. While the boys knew how to play it, they were unsure of who would be able to sing it. Thankfully, Dave Pecoraro, the man with the video cam, stepped forward. He ironically used to be the lead singer in a RHCP cover band called “The Good Time Boys” for whom Tim Palmieri played guitar. They both still knew all of the chords and lyrics by heart and it became a mini reunion, of sorts. It also gave Eli the opening to step down and enjoy the performance from the floor amongst the rest of us.

After that insanity was over, the band stepped offstage to take a breather. I joined them backstage. It was nice to be able to say hello and to listen to some backstage banter. Some were gushing over other’s instruments, some were sharing tour stories and some were just listening and enjoying a cigarette. Members of both bands were sharing in the excitement of playing in the upcoming AURA Music Festival in Florida taking place March 9th to 11th.

As the band was getting back on stage, Rob randomly announced “Chuck wanted to mention to everyone that there are cupcakes for sale at the bar. I will give a dollar to anyone that buys me a cupcake….wait a minute, that doesn’t make any sense.” As this was being broadcasted, Neil and I were in the middle of a little photo session with the said cupcakes. Once we were done with that, he hopped back behind his kit and the band all dove head-first into the second set. Though I truly appreciate their love for sweets, I opted to put my dollars down on some merch instead.

Second set is usually the part of the evening where I drop the camera and put my notebook away so that I can dance through the end of the show! From what I can remember, they sang some odd lyrics about bugs, played a new one called “Brain Dead” and there were moving bodies and couples joining all over the room. After the show was said and done I reached out to the band for a full set list. It was confirmed that the second set was just as hazy for them as it was for me. Good times!

The first time I met and saw Dopapod was in Burlington, VT nearly two years ago. They won me over with a Rage Against The Machine medley as their encore. And every time I have seen them since, they wow me more and more. They are truly becoming one of my favorite bands to watch live.

For more information on their upcoming tour, check out Dopapod’s website and be sure to read on for my fully gallery from the show: