The Dodos Rock Lee’s Palace

The Dodos brought a frenetic performance of their new album to Lee’s Palace on Tuesday

I’ve been a fan of the Dodos for years, ever since I heard their first album, Beware of the Maniacs, buzzing from the speakers of a dear fried and former room mate. Admittedly, though, I’d lapsed somewhat in my fandom and let them fall off my radar despite their constant presence on my “Most Listened To” playlist. I’d never seen them live. So I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see the Toronto stop of the tour supporting their new release, Carrier.

The band opened with a solid rendition of the single off of the new album. They continued with an even mix of newer tunes and (judging by the reaction) crowd-pleasers from their first two albums. Very few of the band’s quieter, inward looking numbers made it into the set list. Instead, a series of quick, spastic songs whipped the crowd into a frenzy that culminated in a (somewhat ironic) moshpit during the encore—this for a band that fits just as comfortably on the spectrum of quieter folk music.

I always have a hard time explaining their sound to the uninitiated. Some songs linger on folk influences with guitarist, Meric Long, fingerpicking a de-tuned acoustic guitar. But the band’s tempos and song structures take sudden hairpin turns. Long starts thrashing at his guitar and belting staccato shouts up into the rafters and drummer, Logan Kroeber, unleashes a syncopated pounding that sounds more like a Taiko performance than one khaki and button-down-wearing guy in an indie band. 

I really can’t emphasize enough how much I like Kroeber’s drumming. I can’t think of a single song where he reverts to the kind of inane 4/4 high-hat-snare rock beat flogged to death by mediocre drummers and AC/DC-era rock bands. Instead, you get something like this:

It’s that combination of rhythm-forward song structures and Long’s fingerpicking (which sounds like Sun House on speed (see here for my favourite example)) and you have a potent mixture, which translates remarkably well to the band’s live performances. 
Words and photos by Justin Scherer

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