BY JOHN COLLINGE
A wildly successful concert attraction, Papadosio ranks among Pollstar’s Top-50 American touring bands averaging 150 dates annually, its onstage video displays, lighting and sound systems cutting-edge marvels of technology. On a given song the quintet has three keyboardists weaving symphonic strains through improv-fueled arrangements of 20 minutes or more. Trippy titles abound: “Gazing the Great Oscillator,” “Moon Entendre,” Anima Mundi” … lyrics tackling heady topicalities from the state of commercial radio to environmental decline.
Spellbinding and genre-defying, the young ensemble’s fourth studio album, Extras in a Movie, reveals a strikingly cinematic profusion of sounds—orchestral, electronic, organic, acoustic, psychedelic and celestial. So, why haven’t you heard of these guys? Let’s just say Papadosio’s humbly populist bearing is a double-edged sword keeping this adventurously progressive outfit virtually hidden in plain sight.
Early on, the multitalented collective of Anthony Thogmartin (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Mike Healy (drums), Sam Brouse (keyboards/guitar), Billy Brouse (keyboards/acoustic guitar) and Rob McConnell (bass/
vocals) took adoption by the Gen Y neo-hippie jam scene in stride.
They were making money making music; all was good. Only recently have members intuited their insular course and the pitfalls of being pigeonholed. In some ways, Papadosio unwittingly paved its own path to becoming stylistically typecast.
Hailing from the college town of Athens, Ohio the band coalesced in 2005 around open-mike improv nights at a bar called O’Hooley’s (now Jackie O’s). “It was an open stage started by these jazz teachers playing improvised jazz standards, no vocals,” Anthony recalls. “I asked them one night if I could sit in. They made me stand in the back of the stage and I played with them. After awhile they stopped doing it and random
musicians would come in and play. That’s really how we met, playing at this bar.” Papadosio subsequently relocated to the freewheeling counterculture mecca of Ashville, N.C.—an artsy tourism hub in the Great Smoky Mountains known for gorgeous vistas and America’s most breweries per capita.
The group’s playfully buoyant moniker has no connection with Italy or Greece apart from evoking a well-served dish, musically speaking.
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