The Dodos (west germany, 22/11/13)
getting to know that this gig could have been cancelled is just unthinkable.
previously scheduled at Festsaal Xberg (one of the pond’s favourite venues that was unfortunately reduced to ashes last summer), the cheery toad and the juicy frog found themselves in the very middle of panel buildings à la shanghai, or better said – a poor and cheap imitation of what you could expect from a chinese megalopolis –, as we enter the dank terrace. inside, white dilapidated tiled floor and walls threaten to crumble, open ceilings show an unbelievable entanglement of cables ready to ignite, pitiful lights convey a sumptuous water-closet atmosphere and – cherry on the cake – an appalling and crappy sound spreads in the room. welcome to West Germany, a former doctor’s office and probably the cheapest and the ugliest venue of the pond! a A4 handwritten sheet of paper announces at the front door: “Tonight: The Dodos”.
i feel really ashamed to offer such venue to the fantastic Dodos, especially when Meric told us that indeed, this was a shitty place, but well, we’re happy to be here anyway. because, right, the concert shouldn’t have taken place, so we better express gratitude for this hip, foul-smelling place.
so, The Dodos from San Francisco, the amazing Meric Long (guitar and singing) and Logan Kroeber (drums, background voice). i already saw them three times in concert, still, i struggle with impatience to introduce them to the cheery toad. my voice is choked with emotion as i explained to my very friend that this new european tour is a special one, mostly due to Chris Reimer’s departure, the third dodo, who died a year ago.
yet, tonight, The Dodos are three.
and this is the incredible Joe Haege (31 Knots, Tu Fawning) that opens the evening, before showing his nose again with The Dodos. on the stage with him, a guitar, a few loops, a drum machine, an overactive raw wildness and his solo project called Vin Blanc/White Wine.
a brilliant solo act, from what we are offered to hear tonight. excellent raw guitar riffs and melodies, great furious voice, convincing electro support and most of all, some amazing choreography in the public. his great set is peppered with hilarious jokes and energizing small stories. what a fabulous introductory part to the Dodos, my goodness!
as The Dodos prepare the stage, i start boiling with happiness because i know what’s about to come. each Dodos’ concert is a fantastic present, giving birth to beautiful guitar melodies, well-tempered melancholic texts, incredible drum breaks and funny jokes – mostly due to Logan. Logan, precisely, isn’t to be found as Meric and Joe are about to start the concert. as Meric begs him (and us to encourage him) to come to the stage, it takes him quite a while to appear, without batting an eyelid and showing a relaxed and teasing smile.
Confidence, the first single of Carrier opens the dancing and gives the pitch. the Dodos’ new album is the first released on Polyvinyl Records (bye bye Witchita!). along with the incredible Fables, Black Night, the excellent Trades & Tariffs, the evening gives an interesting insight in both Dodos’ previous and last albums. Meric plays almost entirely electric, Logan is still the absolute master of drums ruptures and cheerful booms and bangs. Joe sparkles while playing guitar and singing, this is marvellous.
yet, Stranger, Substance and Destroyer, all from Carrier, show obvious signs of fragile melancholy and subdued sadness, nevertheless providing some vivid energy. there’s no doubt that Chris Reimer’s soul impregnated this last album. despite the punchy nature of many songs, the set is covered by some gentle, but magnificent, sorrow. Logan’s drums are just tremendous, as usual, and the new songs testify also more “tenderness” in the compositions, even if exhilarating cymbal crashes explode regularly.
through the same deadpan sense of humour and hilarious mimics, Logan, together with Joe Haege, conveys to the stage some great energy and happiness. between two songs, he tells us with a rascal but sincere smile that “Without Berlin, this would not be a European Tour”.
showing an everlasting complicity with both Meric and Logan, Joe Haege is an outstanding tour guitarist and singer. his voice accompanies Meric’s wonderfully and his presence completes greatly the Dodo’s performance.
this concert was again a thrilling and fantastic moment. would this gig review still make you think that the Dodos are jokers, have a look at the following KEXP’s session and bless again the seattle radio for offering us such appreciable jam sessions. and bless the Dodos.