Papadosio Brings An Evening Of Epic Jams To The Queen City
The Content Coma Tour Makes A Stop At The Underground
The Underground Charlotte was awash with glorious prog rock runs, psychedelic riffs, and electronic jams this past Friday evening as Papadosio brought their Content Coma Tour to the Queen City. The Asheville, NC based rockers have been mesmerizing audiences with their lush sonic landscapes for well over a decade and have recently released a brand new studio album Content Coma.
Their sound is sometimes described as space rock, a unique combination of progressive rock, jazz, electronic, and psychedelic all blended into a one of a kind sensory explosion with technical, math rock beats and beautiful melodies.
Even the band name is distinctive. In a recent conversation with keyboardist and vocalist Sam Brouse, I asked about the origins of the Papadosio name. He wasn’t quite sure how the name came to be but thought it had something to do with the fact that when you google “Papadosio” nothing else comes up, giving the band a name as special as their sound.
I arrived at the venue early so I had some time to check in at the Advocates of Change table in the front of the venue and find out what they were about. The organization is a nonprofit that works to empower the music community through art, activism, and action and their representatives were eager to speak with me and share some stories. At this particular show, they were running a charity auction for a cancer patient who was involved with the charity. For a small donation, you could enter for a chance to win a signed drum head from Papadosio drummer Mike Healy and also grab a cool piece of art. I love it when bands support something they believe in and give their fans a chance to get involved as well.
There was also an artist up front actively working on a type of hand weaving, making pretty neat wall hangings and handbags that people could purchase or just check out what she was all about.
It was almost time for the show to start so I made my way up front to check out the opening band, Litz. The four piece jam band hails from Gaithersburg, MD and was a perfect act to kick off the evening. Their sound is a little bit of funk with grooving beats, a little bit of rock with wailing guitars, and a whole lot of jams. Keyboardist Austin Litz was set up stage left in the front behind an array of keyboards, but also a saxophone for just the right amount of funky, jazzy rhythms interspersed throughout their set.
He even brought me back in time with a little talk box, wah, wah effect a la Peter Frampton’s famous “Do You Feel Like We Do” from the seventies. Guitarist Pat Shine let his fingers do the talking with searing riffs and jam based leads and solos including even a little bit of one of my all time favorite songs to the mix with Eric Clapton’s “Layla”.
Drummer Nick Thrasher and bass guitarist Logan Litz kept the rhythms steady and grooving as fans danced and swayed to the beats. Litz has a great overall vibe and it was easy to get lost in the music and forget about all your nine to five troubles at least for a little while.
The highlight of their set was an all out party of funky jams with a roof raising version of “Funkin’ Problem”. If you haven’t checked out Litz yet, there’s no time like the present. Go get your jam on.
As the stage was being prepped for Papadosio, fans had time to circulate the venue, checking out the merchandise and having fun at the new “selfie station” that was set up on the side of the venue.
The station was something that I have seen before at the larger amphitheaters but this was the first time I had seen it out at the Underground.
I hope they decide to keep it as people really seemed to enjoy getting pics with all the silly props and it gave them something to do between sets.
Once the venue lights dimmed, the stage was lit in blue lights with a Papadosio logo in white on the screen at that rear of the stage.
The instruments were set up in a semi-circle or “U” pattern with Healy’s drum set at the front stage right and Anthony Thogmartin’s guitar and keyboards set up at the front stage left. Keyboardist and vocalist Sam Brouse was set up in the middle at the rear of the stage flanked by bass guitarist Rob McConnell and keyboardist Billy Brouse. A trance like feeling took over the venue as the first explosion of sound erupted from the band. People were definitely in tune with music as they swayed and rocked across the floor. Papadosio is at heart a progressive rock band but the electronics add a captivating, almost orchestral feel to the music. It is both majestic and sublime with wicked, sizzling guitar melded in.
The set list was heavy with songs from their latest studio release Content Coma which addresses the question of our addiction to the internet and social media which was made all the more real as people raised their phones in the air taking pictures and video of the show. In true prog fashion, the songs were interspersed with extended solos and runs as the night took on a very, hippiesh vibe. The audience let themselves go and become one with the music, transcending both time and space to immerse themselves in each and every moment.
At the end of the show, people left invigorated and spiritually renewed by what they had experienced. The night was proof that music can be an escape and with Papadosio, an epic adventure. Be sure to check them out when the Content Coma Tour hits a city near you.