There was a moment, standing in the photo pit as Dodie walked on stage at the Varsity theater, that my ears experienced something new. The audience of mostly young women was screaming with joy. The sheer volume was quite the rattle and an instant validation of just how impactful Dodie’s music has been to young girls. The inclusion was reflected in the audience. I witnessed sign language, special seating for people with disabilities, blind girls, and plenty of homemade signs being held up.
Opening the night was Adam Melchor. The short 35-minute set encapsulated a diverse performance of acoustic songs including (not a Taylor Swift song) “Archer,” a song about his parent’s divorce called “Joyride,” a Rihanna cover of “Needed Me,” and his larger hit “Real Estate.” It was a perfect introduction to his personal lyrics and casual melodies, although many in the audience already knew his songs.
Adam expressed his gratitude throughout the set. He shared that many past shows he’s performed to the back of people’s heads and it was nice to finally see the other side. He also commented on how we likes playing rooms with mirror balls. On cue, the room came alive with his performance of “Real Estate” as the mirror ball was lit. Everyone’s phones came out and lights popped on. Adam had a huge smile while singing. It felt really intimate and special. I’m sure Adam will continue to see more faces in his growing fan base.
Standing in a backlit mask of light, Dodie started with “Arms Unfolding.” It instantly had the crowd engaged and screaming along with the words. “Monster” and “Human” followed as Dodie eased into the evening although you could sense her younger age and some slight nervousness, Dodie exhibited a very mature presence in singing. After starting off on YouTube, she’s made her footprint by being authentic, honest, and intimate wirh her voice.
Her band complimented her well throughout the evening. Drums, violin, cello, guitar, and bass replicated her album well. When you think of pop music, you don’t often see a string-based backing band. It was a great element and one that paid dividends when Dodie was playing her piano-based songs like “6/10,” “You,” and “Secret For The Mad.”
The room also supported her by hanging twinkle lights above the audience. When “Sick of Losing Soulmates” started, the crowd hushed and ate in her words. The canopy of lights above pulsed on and off throughout. It was pure magic.
Dodie disclosed that she was suffering from acute bronchitis, but in spite of that fact, her voice remained strong. After “Guiltless” she spoke a bit about her appreciation of all the fans. Coughing, she shared that although she couldn’t yell her thank-yous, she wanted to mentally send the message out. The house lights came up and she surveyed the crowd. It was a beautiful moment where Dodie absorbed the audience, seeing all of the signs and faces.
Closing out the show with energized performances of “Would You Be So Kind” and “In The Middle,” Dodie crouched down with the audience only to jump up and danced around the stage. As Dodie left the stage, someone threw a coat up. Painted on the back was a picture of Dodie. There’s a vulnerability that Dodie sings about. You can connect and feel those moments, relate and smile. You are not alone in those growing pains and transitions.