Last night, Papadosio made a massive stop on their fall tour for a much-anticipated headlining show at the Highline Ballroom. Armed with a desire to blow the roof off of New York City, the force known as Papadosio brought the heat to the big apple through an eclectic and well-rounded set that included blissful dance parties, ballads, and some crunchy, grin-inducing evil.
The night started with a short set from Papadosio's own Anthony Thogmartin, who has been opening up almost every show this tour with his solo production project, EarthCry. Always a nice way to start the evening, EarthCry is sure to make you move with a fusion of uplifting melodies and tribal beats. Thogmartin bases the tracks off of the ancient Solfeggio frequencies while utilizing what he has described as the most ecstatic tones of those frequencies to ensure the crowd has no choice but to dance. After EarthCry concluded, Colorado's The Malah took the stage for a ripping performance. The beauty of a band like The Malah is that you do not necessarily have to be familiar with specific songs to enjoy what they're bringing to the table. Extremely tight and undeniably groovy, The Malah threw down on such a level that it was surprising to remember that they were only the opening act. It's easy to see why this trio has built a nice following closer to their homebase and it would be quite nice to see them headline some bigger shows in the northeast, and soon.
When The Malah concluded keeping the crowd nice and toasty, Papadosio took the stage and came out swinging with the always fun "Method of Control." Moving forward, the band pulled out one of their newer heavy hitters, "Now That You Know," that saw a delightfully weird jam into old school bust-out "You and Yourself." Always uplifting, "You and Yourself" was stretched to its limits as well, as part of a segment that had everyone questioning how they were only three songs deep after already accomplishing so much. The next segment saw guitarist Anthony Thogmartin pull out his acoustic guitar for a pair of ballads, "Right Now" and the beautiful gay-rights anthem, "What's At Stake." What is amazing about a song like "Right Now" is the band's ability to do it in so many fashions; it could have easily been large and particularly electronic, as it has in the past, but Papadosio is nothing if they are not versatile and this segment was a perfect display of that versatility. Especially with the pairing of "What's At Stake," it was certainly a lighters-in-the-air moment. The rest of the show, though, is when things seriously turned on. Older gem "Stick Figure" is always a huge, jammed out, ten plus minutes of bliss and was followed by what is undoubtedly one of the most powerful instrumental numbers written in recent memory, "The Bionic Man Meets His Past." What followed after that were the highlights of the show, "By The Light of the Stars," an "Unparalyzer" closer, and "The Eyes Have Eyes" encore. "By The Light of the Stars" brought the aforementioned crunchy, evil-grin inducing madness as the band dug their way so far down the rabbit hole that they came out in Wonderland on the other side. "Unparalyzer" was that Wonderland, jazzy fan favorite that is impossible not to dance to, as it takes its time building up to a chaotic ending in a perfect show closer. The encore was a serious treat, another older fan-favorite that was a regular occurrence several years back but, with an increasingly growing catalog, makes much rarer and sought-after appearances in current times. Topping ten minutes and matching the maniacal, head-spinning jams of "By The Light of the Stars," "The Eyes Have Eyes" ended the show with a bang and leaving us all begging for more. We would be remiss to not give special mention to lighting director Jason Takahashi as well, who is as much a part of the band at this point as anyone playing instruments. The visual aspect of the show is absolutely breath-taking and totally mind-blowing; Takahashi is doing things that are not really comparable to any other visual artist and bringing the live experience of this band to the next level. Overall, Papadosio is at the top of their game right now and, as bassist Rob McConnell stated in his recent interview with Joonbug, it is going to be incredible to see where they are in ten years from now, or even one year from now. Seeing these guys live is akin to a religious experience. If this is just the beginning, well, I'm riding this train to the end and I can't wait to see wherever that may be.
Check out this fan shot video of the second half of "The Eyes Have Eyes" encore and do not miss Papadosio the next time they come to a venue near you. Disappointment is not an option. This reviewer will see you again after their Philadelphia show this weekend!