by Caleb Calhoun
Photos by J. Scott Schrader
Papadosio: (noun) 1 – A collective of musicians from Asheville, NC delivering genre-bending, soul-satisfying music. 2 – A sound that leaves the listener searching in vain for comparisons. 3 – A possible cult comprised mainly of beautiful, dread-headed and contagiously happy humans. 4 – A real good time.
There aren’t many things that are better in life than watching the home team crush, and Saturday night at The Orange Peel in Asheville, that is what I am witnessing. This isn’t my first Papadosio show, but, I’ll be honest, it’s the first one I have really paid attention to.
The last couple times I have seen them I have had good friends in the opening band and have ended up backstage shooting the bull and smoking left-handed cigarettes for most of Papadosio’s set. Tonight though, I am here and engaged and ready to see what they have to serve up.
The word on the street is that they played a lot of their new music last night and that we should probably expect tonight to be a trip down memory lane. That’s fine by me, but I do have to admit that myself, and all of my coworkers at Biscuithead, have had Pattern Integrities on repeat for the last week or so.
Nonetheless, it is still their older music that I am most familiar with and, I know it makes me bit of a rube, but Find Your Cloud is my favorite song. I arrive a few minutes early, friends in tow, ready to take in this band that, for so many of the people I know, is straight soul-food. It’s been a long few weeks, and I’m pretty sure the woman that just left me will be here tonight, but I am determined to push through and see what this band has to offer.
Walking in I wonder about the others around me: I can’t be the only one going through heartache. Still, even in the company of my friends I feel alone and distant. I’m standing on tip-toe trying to see if my ex is in front of me then trying to look casual as I search the crowd behind me. I need the music to begin and I need it to be as soon as possible.
But instead of music I am confronted by a lot of bad noise as a member of The Orange Peel’s security staff decides that I shouldn’t be allowed to have my typewriter. I tell him I am a music journalist and he literally laughs at me.
I’m frustrated and thinking about calling it a night before the show even begins when the manager comes to my rescue and sets the record straight. I scurry away like a rodent, my old 50’s Royal clutched to my chest like a stolen piece of cheese, and take my spot in the back corner.
Then, just like that, everything is different. Papadosio takes the stage to raucous applause and immediately launches in to Find Your Cloud. Even against my inner objections I can feel the negative vibes dissipating like hippies when the cops arrive. Two minutes in and the security guard as well as my ex-girlfriend are now the furthest things from my mind.
I stash the typewriter and begin to make my way into the crowd. It’s a young group of fans and I am feeling old but completely accepted. I’m not entirely sure how to dance to this music at first, but, coming out of FYC they head into Monochrome and Mike Healy, a true master on the kit, heads into some counter-rhythm, 90’s Philadelphia-style hip-hop beat that my hips are a little more familiar with.
After an FYC reprise they keep it moving with Garden and then on to smoking Ritual>Method of Control: the street-level beats perfectly complimenting the jazz composition, the rock undercurrent, and the house blend that Anthony Thogmartin, Billy Brouse, and Sam Brouse are throwing down on the keys.
Both the band and the crowd are gaining momentum, the extended jams keeping everyone moving, the visual effect of the backdrops and LEDs playing with the stars that live right behind everyone’s eyelids.
As the band moves into Euclidean Lights and Water I can feel my final insecurities melting away, I can feel the movement of the bands fingers on their instruments, I can feel the hearts of those around me beating as one. And isn’t that the entire reason that we are here? Aren’t we here to feel accepted into a part of something bigger? Here to understand that we are all-one, that our hearts can beat together and that our souls can rise above the melo-drama and the grind of the day-to-day?
Papadosio is literally soaring now and the entire crowd is floating, or perhaps levitating on the cloud of love and universality that they have somehow engulfed the entire venue in.
As they finish the set and encore with Cue, I can’t help but feel like the opening song, Find Your Cloud, was not a suggestion to go figure your shit out alone as much as an invitation to follow them, because they already know the way.