255 N. Front St.
Sun., 3/4 • 9 p.m. • $10-12
Aside from Papadosio’s last performance in Wilmington, this town hasn’t seen much like their brand of music—live electronica—before. The five players will their instruments to form unexpected combinations of sounds, with elements of soul, indie rock and modern techno. Papadosio may just be simmering the crock pot of music, melding and engaging people regardless of age, race or taste.
The four original members—Anthony Thogmartin (keys, guitar, vocals), Rob McConnell (bass, vocals), Mike Healy (drums) and Billy Brouse (keys and vocals)—met at a weekly open jam in Athens, Ohio, in 2006. “We all grew up listening to Aphex Twin and other oddball electronic artists, so it felt natural for us to incorporate that into our sound,” McConnell recalls.
Though it seems an instinctive move to follow one’s influences, for those outside the band, the idea of rootsy jammers owning a global dance vibe, complete with epic, varying keyboard/synth melodies, is a bit difficult to render. The keyboards careen and samba away on their own accord, while Healy’s drumming keeps everything grounded, providing the music a recognizable, identifiable beat. When not overshadowed by the boards, McConnell’s bass is revealed as the other half of Papadosio’s concrete foundation (think of Paul Simon’s “Call Me Al,” or the “Seinfeld” theme, only ultra modern).
The amalgamation of this foursome results in trance-inducing instrumentals that engulf one into the song. Papadosio is here to prove livetronica a genre that will continue to grow and most likely endure. In fact, the members believe it’s just the type of music that will comprise the future thread of tunes. They ask listeners to leave behind their nostalgia for what once was, and to adopt an enthusiastic view of what is and could be.
“Live music,” McConnell says, is the trajectory. “Artists like Björk, Radiohead and Amon Tobin are producing really beautiful live shows.”
These performers aren’t just talking about the future they want to see; they’re making it happen. They founded the four-night, all-arts event, Rootwire, in order to expose underground talent without chasing profits, unlike corporate festivals today. “Rootwire came to fruition from wanting to throw a festival that would have all of our favorite bands that we have played [with] across the country and new bands that we really liked,” Healy shares. “But the main focus was not just to have a music festival, but one of the best art and music festivals around.”
This year’s event takes place in the woods of Logan, Ohio, in August. They will bring together painters, sculptors, speakers, installation artists, forest lighting designers, circus troops, aerialists, poi artists, shamans, yogis, healers and, of course, musicians.
“Playing Rootwire is so exciting for us because we always get to play at least three of the nights, but being able to hang out all weekend and experience the action is the best part,” the drummer says. “Creating an atmosphere for everyone to enjoy is so rewarding. This year we have a lot of tricks up our sleeves; 2012 is the year of awakening.”
Since adding Brouse’s younger brother, Sam, on keys and vocals in the summer of 2010, the band has let loose an entire new animal. “Sam’s musical voice is ferocious one moment and graceful the next. The direction he provides is always [on the] next level,” McConnell explains.
They attribute much of their growth to the latest addition. Yet, they may be discrediting the rest of the crew’s talent. There’s a clear difference between their 2008 release, “By the Light of the Stars,” and the 2009 album, “Observations.” In the latter, every musician has grown in confidence and force as they bring powerful, enchanting tunes into being. Beats are fresh, hammering against what’s been heard before in any genre, and melodies are much more experimental and dance-like. Seemingly, they move away from the style of Primus and creep closer to becoming, well, Papadosio.
The band, which now calls Asheville home, will play Soapbox Laundro-Lounge as part of their Awake Inside tour on Sunday, March 4th. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show begins at 9 p.m. Papadosio will be joined by pH Factor, which possesses more rock ‘n’ roll, and Futexture’s computer-generated original mixes. Tickets are $10 in advance, available from www.soapboxlaundrolounge.com, or $12 at the door.