The audience at Mojo’s Tuesday night were treated to a crash course in contemporary jam bands, as openers TAUK and headliners Dopapod played their own brands of electronically tinged improvisation at their first Columbia show.
The instrumental group TAUK had a spacey, krautrock vibe to their wordless jams, though that’s not to say they were confined to one genre. TAUK seemed to weave through psychedelic rock, jazz, hard funk, and even some hip-hop beats for good measure.
At one point, they even performed a sprawling cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” that seemed to meander through multiple genres. Starting out as a straightforward cover, the song soon devolved into a hazy extended improvised jam with a rising tension that crescendoed as the band reigned in the noodling for an explosive finish.
Though TAUK reminded me of a grittier Sound Tribe Sector 9, Dopapod made me think of a groovier Umphrey’s McGee. The Boston-born four-piece played a marathon two sets filled with uplifting progressive rock and smooth, dirty dance grooves. The most notable difference between Dopapod and TAUK’s set were how many people were getting down with they bad selves at Dopapod.
Dopapod were like a dancier version of Yes, with harmonized vocals fighting to be heard over rhythmic jamming. The band was musically tight, showcasing their group virtuosity by moving through extended jams while keeping in-sync, always ready to keep up with a bandmates improvisation.
Their jams were epic in length, with middle sections so long you think they’ve moved on to an entirely different song until they reprise the first part of the song. At one point they teased the riff of White Zombies’ “Thunder Kiss ’65,” which had me running through the Guitar Hero soundtrack in my head throughout the show trying to think of that title. You the real MVP, Google.
Between songs, guitarist Rob Compa joked that the band wasn’t used to the crowd not talking among themselves during the show, which I usually prefer to be the case, truth be told. Keyboardist Eli Winderman offered a coy challenge to the crowd in response to Compa, saying “Or just pay very close attention to everything we are doing up here.”
With such a fiery introductory show, Dopapod can’t return to Columbia soon enough.
This blog post was written by Zachary Van Epps, contributing writer for The Blue Note.