Yes, I admit it: I had never heard the term “jam band” until summer of last year. My youngest sister was getting married to a guy from the east coast. The wedding took place at another sister of mine’s home. Her home is a perfect venue for a wedding with a great pool and bar area for the reception. Of course, the groom’s entire family came down for the event. My new brother-in-law, Kevin Duggan was raised in the Boston area. His sister, Kim Healy currently resides in Asheville, NC with her husband Mike Healy. I was hoping that this northern east coast family and our south Louisiana family were compatible for the event. After all, in Louisiana we tend to drink heavily, eat mudbugs, and sometimes over-spice our food. Plus, would we understand them with their heavy New England accents? It turns out that Kevin has a great family and they all fit right in with our family. When I met Kim’s (Kevin’s sister) husband Mike, I asked him what he did for a living and he replied “I’m the drummer for the jam band Papadosio.” Not knowing anything about the term “jam band,” I assumed he played in a local band in Asheville at small bar venues and events. I even wondered if his income from these gigs could support he and his wife as they were expecting a baby in the next few months.
Mike had mentioned that his band was playing at the Varsity in Baton Rouge in October. That’s when I started my research on jam bands and realized we had a celebrity in the family. Mike’s band Papadosio had played at Red Rocks in Colorado recently and packed the place. They also had glowing reviews on their many performances over the last 8 to 10 years. This “jam band” was legitimate and obviously successful. But, I had never actually been to a “jam band” concert, much less know what a jam band was.
Obviously, I had to catch the show at the Varsity. As a 53 year old classic rock enthusiast, I had no idea of what to expect. When we arrived at the Varsity, I realized I stood out like a sore thumb. Most of the audience was half my age, and I didn’t see one other person close to my age. To me, the audience looked like a young bunch of homeless persons with unkempt facial hair and ragged clothing. When the band began playing, that ragged and unkempt audience was extremely engaged in what was going on, as they sang, and swayed in a completely euphoric atmosphere. That atmosphere, performance, and venue was like nothing I had ever experienced.
Anthony Thogmartin is a fantastic front man with his indie rock vocals, and Sam Brouse’s vocals compliment the band’s overall sound to perfection. Most reviews of Papadosio tag them as one of the most technologically literate jam bands performing today. The one thing that stands out when you see them live is the shear number of controls, knobs, and buttons on that stage. The band members must have some type of engineering degree to know how to set up and operate all that equipment. During the performance I saw one member playing 3 different keyboards (sometimes at the same time), while another had a guitar, a sampler, and a modular synthesizer that he worked by himself. The performance was powered by a combination of talents consisting of Anthony and Sam’s textured vocals, various musical riffs, and Healy’s consistent drumming that seamlessly transitions from ambient sounds to overdrive rock which had the audience calmly swaying at the beginning and then headbanging within minutes.
The lighting and special effects add to the experience as well, which featured a projection of some very psychedelic moving images that flow with the music.
At the end of a long chain of interconnected jams, I left the venue feeling a lot younger and thinking about how hard it was going to be to top that concert experience. So, I am planning to go to the Varsity in Baton Rouge on August 29th to see them again in hopes that this year’s performance tops last year.
Papadosio – SUMMER TOUR W/ HIGHER LEARNING
- August 29, 2018
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Varsity Theatre
Remaining Tour Dates: http://www.papadosio.com/tour/
Genres: Generally Rock – Or can be classified on its own as described below:
“Falling somewhere between rock, jazz and electronic mayhem we find space rock. This is a genre that is not readily defined, and is a state of mind as much as it could be considered a genre. This range of frequencies is where Papadosio tends to spend their time, sometimes dining in deep space, and other times snacking right on your front porch. Papadosio strives to create music that is strangely familiar, and calls all walks of humanity to bask in a unique experience celebrating the one constant in an ever changing world: music.”
Band Members: Mike Healy • Anthony Thogmartin • Rob McConnell • Billy Brouse • Sam Brouse