PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

The Dodos: 6 June 2011 - Metro, Chicago

California psych-folk rocker duo the Dodos performed a unique powerhouse sound of polyrhythmic drumming, intricate picking and delightful harmonies reminiscent of '90s indie folk rock at the Metro in Chicago.

The Dodos

The Dodos

City: Chicago
Venue: The Metro
Date: 2011-06-06

Nothing beats summer in Chicago. Between festivals and concerts in the park opportunities to catch free live music outdoors are endless. On Monday June 6 the beloved Iron & Wine performed a free concert for the weekly New Music Mondays series held downtown at Millennium Park. Naturally the whole city took advantage of the opportunity to see Iron & Wine, packing the outdoor venue to uncomfortable proportions. Interesting how boring music can draw such a large crowd.

Other live music fans, myself included, opted to skip the park and head to Wrigleyville to catch California psych-folk rockers the Dodos. The band played indoors at the dim and dingy Metro; so wine, cheese and picnic blankets were not permitted, and technically the show was not free, but I can guarantee the music rocked ten times harder than the show in the park. The Dodos rattled the rafters with a unique powerhouse sound of polyrhythmic drumming, intricate picking and delightful harmonies reminiscent of 90’s indie folk rock.

The Dodos were preceded by Gauntlet Hair of Lafayette, Colorado. The band was headed by proclaimed BFFs (best friends forever) Andy R. (guitar/vocals) and Craig Nice (drums). Usually R. and Nice play as a duo; however they were joined by two extra musicians, making the Gauntlet Hair a four-piece. Three things struck me about Gauntlet Hair: they played in a line running across the foot of the stage, Nice was positioned center stage on an electric drum set hammering out heavy handed beats, and finally Nice’s dog freely roamed the stage during the set.

Gauntlet Hair performed a blend of experimental, psychedelic noise rock with hints of electro dream pop. Their sound was loud and border line overwhelming. If the noise aspect was scaled back they would have made for a more enjoyable show. In Gauntlet Hair’s defense, the Metro is notorious for pockets of overblown dead sound. Andy R. employed an effect mic for his vocals, making his voice echo and lyrics inaudible. Regardless I was intrigued enough to leave with Gauntlet Hair’s 7” which is not half bad.

Word around the Metro was evening ticket sales were low, so reps set out to Iron & Wine to pass out free tickets in hopes of beefing up attendance. Their plan worked for by the time the Dodos hit the stage the audience filled out. Being a Monday night I noticed many a tired and droopy faces in the crowd; The Dodos surfaced around 10:30 PM to a house of excited yawns.

Guitarist/singer Meric Long approached his pedal board and flipped an effect causing an eerie ring to fill the room. He then reached for the mic and said “Greetings Earthlings” before jumping headfirst into “Good” off the band’s latest release No Color (March 15 2011, French Kiss Records). The Dodos instantly kicked the yawn from the crowd with their round primitive groove of innovative melodies. Two traits that made the Dodos so great is their unconventional and approachable rock sound; unconventional because their sound revolved around steady, circular rhythms produced by drummer Logan Kroeber. I found them approachable for their introverted lyrics and live energy.

Kroeber was the focal point of the stage perched behind a unique drum kit of: three toms, a snare, couple of cymbals and foot powered tambourine. He relied on the deep resonate tones of the toms, employing African and metal influences to each roll. His counterpart Long was off to the left shielded by his guitar. Long had the incredible ability to simultaneously finger-pick and strum his guitar like a country blues master. Since there was no bass the music focused on the fluid relationship between drums, guitar and lyrics. The band was joined by rhythm guitarist Chris Riemer, who has been on tour with the duo as of late. Riemer added extra hints of color in between the grooves, but was no match for Long.

There were moments during the show where the band’s rhythm centric ballads spun into long play experimentation. One moment they rode quick paced folk rock with delicate harmonies, and electric guitar riffs worthy of the '90s. Psychedelic noise rock would follow suit complete with polyrhythmic Americana swells. Really there were no boundaries to what the band was capable of. Kroeber would rap on the rims of his drums, producing street sounds of pulsating percussion colored by the jangle of tambourine.

In response Long lovingly unleashed series of guitar shreds masked and elongated by effect pedals. Wrapped up in their jam, the boys played like they were in a private garage exploring the powers of their instruments. The audience swayed with the beauty developing onstage and definitely punched the air through choruses and power chords. The Dodos’ set primarily focused on No Color with hints of back catalog favorites primarily off their sophomore album Visiter. Towards the end Long snapped a string on his guitar, though that did not stop him from relaying a three song encore, culminating in the band’s notable pop anthem “The Fool”.

Gauntlet Hair

The Dodos

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.