Something happened at the Culture Room this past Friday night when Papadosio came to town as part of their summer tour.
It was a long Friday; one that would make anyone fear all future Fridays. One of those nights that, despite love for adventure and surprise, felt like it'd be easier and safer to just stay home. But in taking a chance and leaving our comfort zone, Papadosio showed us that magic can manifest, even on such a dreary day. They offered all of Culture Room that feeling that keeps the curious seeking, that has us still reviewing shows.
At around 9 p.m., honestly, the room was half empty. More than half empty. Walking up to the Culture Room, it didn't even seem like much was happening that night. There was no line outside the door. The parking lot still had spaces available. Things were kind of quiet for a Friday night -- especially for a night when electronic/jam/dance heroes Papadosio were visiting to school south Florida on the real jam scene. But when opening act, Atlanta's Stokeswood took the stage, like sirens in the sea, it only took them about eight minutes to lure folks on the patio inside.
What started with a trickle turned into a full blown dance party as Stokeswood ploughed through about fifteen walls of genres from simple folk sounds resembling those of Devendra Banhart to borderline EDM. There were psych synthesizer freak-outs, suddenly evolving again into something like jamtronica, with even Vampire Weekend-style tunes mixed in there.
This is what happened. This is the moment that rewards the show show-goer for leaving their comfort zone and braving the week that ends in the freakiest of Fridays.
Stokeswood, filled the room beyond the typical call of an opening band. By the time they had reeled in the last of those on standby in the patio area, there was an indefinite variety of folks getting down on the dance floor, leaving the most coveted of comfortable standing situations -- upstairs near the bar on the loft -- empty for anyone who could resist such a sonically diverse groove. The band seemed to hit every possible palate on the musical taste scale (aside from maybe metal), leaving little in the way of excuses for not dancing.
Ladies without bras, men and women with dreads, men and women with shaved heads, men and women without shaved underarms, clean cut, sweaty and kind of smelly, tie-dyed T-shirts and button ups, it seemed like the crowd represented a diversity even more innumerable than the genres covered by Stokeswood.
Though the common thread became apparent about a quarter of the way through their set when the room was nearing capacity. Things got skunky. And in a list of the top ten types of stoners to look out for at a Papadosio show, the musicians on stage, definitely took number one as the crowd showed appreciation.
But it never did slow the band down. Any headlining act would be proud to have a band like Stokeswood at the helm and whoever made the choice to tack the two of these bands together was right on. The room stayed full for Papadosio as everyone had seemingly taken their positions on the floor. Those upfront may not see their spot again if they took a break.
The transition was seamless as far as the sound goes, and Papadosio, who also defies the limits of genre, kept the energy moving. If for any reason an audience member were to open their eyes and stop dancing for an instant, the effects of the lighting offered up by the band were more than enough to keep the listener focused on the music while 'Dosio, with a stage full of gear, tackled their unique sound.
And while a Papadosio fan knows that they haven't yet reached the point of producing a disappointing show, it is well advised to catch Papadosio outside of their festival run this season, if getting to a fest isn't in your lineup for the summer. And get to the venue early to catch Stokeswood.
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