On Sunday, February 27, I had the pleasure of seeing Papadosio at the Showbox Market. Touring for their new album, Extras In A Movie, Papadosio has a style that embodies “a lot of color.” The official band website calls their sound a “celestial sonic ambience with an organic edge and multiple guitars, both electric and acoustic.” There is also a new emphasis on vocals, from their previous albums, which are highlighted in songs like “Epiphany” and “Glimpse of Light.”
With doors opening at 7:30 and my group arriving an hour before, there were only twenty people in line when we entered the venue. The majority of the audience trickled in slowly from the city streets, finding their way to the bar and comfy seats as we waited for the show to start. I found myself glued to the front railing all night - my friends were very adamant about being in the front, even though there was no one else on the floor. After the largely older crowd got their drinks, people came down to the floor, ready to dance.
The opening act, Cure for the Common from Bozeman, Montana, brought a vibrant set with their infusion of “electro thunder-funk.” With Grateful Dead-inspired guitar inflections, four out of five of the members on vocals, and a jamming bassist wearing yellow light-therapy glasses, the band’s energy was exciting. Everyone in the audience left their bar seats and claimed a space on the dance floor.
It was very obvious we were in the midst of an experienced audience. With each song, the music and the dancing became more free and fun. Everyone found their vibe with the band, and it was a great time. Those who chose to miss the opening act really missed out because Cure for the Common set a great vibe and warmed the audience up perfectly for Papadosio.
There was a diverse mix of people at the show - businessmen in suits, groups of late-twenties guys in obviously coordinated tie dye outfits, grungy Seattleites in brown clothes that were once some other color, and hippy college kids who were my friends. I was definitely the only high schooler there. Everyone had one thing in common: a connection to the music.
Next, Papadosio walked onto the stage to a loud round of applause and immediately began creating music. Their first song, “Bionic Man,” was a fully instrumental jam centered around the original studio recording. They set a strong backbeat with deep bass and drum roots as people swayed and bounced along to the rhythm.
I quickly observed that no band member was required to play except for the drummer. Each member added in their own sounds or sat quietly listening while they waited for inspiration to flow. This made each song unique. Regardless of if you had heard the original album recordings, each song sounded fresh and new.
Each song flowed from one to the next, with small distinctions signifying changes. “Bionic Man” shifted from “We Choose,” to “New Love,” to “Monochrome,” the first two songs from their live album Night and Day and the third from T.E.T.I.O.S. These songs brought the energy up to a high point, and I consistently found myself banging my head and jumping around. Then, as we were all out of breath and excited, one of the pianists brought us back down to earth with light and beautiful keys.
After the nostalgic songs from their first two albums, the energy was quickly brought up again with a succession of songs from Extras In A Movie. One of my favorite Papadosio songs, “Epiphany,” started off the run of new music, followed by “Gazing the Great Oscillator” and a tripped out “Moon Entendre.” These songs had more vocals than ones from their previous albums, featuring the guitarist and pianist.
By this time, everyone in the audience was sharing smiles and warm feelings. Then, my very favorite Dosio song came on - “Glimpse of Light.” I connected with the guitar workings and vocals of this song already, but the bassist and pianist brought a different side out. My endorphins were activated and adrenaline was pumping - I was having the time of my life. Singing along and dancing like a mad woman, I soaked up everything the musicians were giving out.
I was so into the moment that I didn’t even notice the transition to the final number, “Cloud Found.” The band had played for almost two hours with no break. I felt they were truly committed to the performance.
After the performance was over, the Seattleites did their thing - yell and scream until the band comes back on stage for an encore! No one leaves Seattle without an encore! I took the time during “Paradigm Shift” to give my friends hugs and express my appreciation for the performance. The feelings were mutual throughout the room. When the music ended, I stayed up front to congratulate the band on an amazing show and thanked them for coming. The house wasn’t nearly half sold-out, but we were a great audience. The guys from the band thanked us for coming in return, and I was glad we could give them gratification for coming to Seattle.
Showbox Photo by Madolyn Laurine
Tour Graphic from papadosio.com