Papadosio brought their genre-bending space rock to The Haunt on Thursday night to a packed crowd for their first show in Ithaca since 2014. Cycles, an alternative rock band from Denver, set the tone with a brilliant opening set, easing the crowd into the night before Papdosio’s electric performance.
Cycles was one of the best bands I’ve seen live. When their set started, I counted five other people in the audience, but they performed as if they were playing for a sold out Wembley. Cycles is a three-piece act, and all three members were insanely talented. Their music was very individualized, often showcasing the skills of each member rather than trying to create a cohesive sound. This isn’t a bad thing; each member had the ability and stage presence to make it work. If you were listening from the next room over, you could almost convince yourself that you were listening to a Led Zeppelin cover band, but in a way that’s far more enjoyable than listening to Greta van Fleet. Additionally, they had a unique blend of classic rock and math rock with plenty of guitar loops and pedalboard effects to add a dash of psychedelia. Perhaps the math rock influence makes sense; the guitarist looked just like my freshman year calculus professor.
It often feels cliche to say that a band is genre-fluid, but there truly is no better way to describe Papadosio. Though labelled as space rock, they often incorporate hard rock jams, jazz grooves and electronic music. This was most obvious when watching the rhythm section, as the bass guitarist and drummer would often audibly switch their influences mid-song, blending well with Papadosio’s signature atmospheric synths and saturated guitar effects. Papadosio also has a member dedicated entirely to sound effects, which felt like the secret ingredient in creating good space rock.
The environment of this show deserves its own paragraph. The Haunt is always a great venue, and this was one of the most unique crowds I’ve seen. Everyone looked like they were either a non-playable character in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 or they looked like Tony Hawk in 2019. There were adults as old as my parents dancing like they were at a rave, making it clear that all expectations and perceptions were left at the door.
The best song of the night was “Find Your Cloud,” Papadosio’s biggest hit. The band had explained to the crowd earlier in the show that this was their first show in Ithaca since 2014, and so they were trying to give a more unique setlist to make up for the lost time. They succeeded, creating a setlist drawing from the majority of their wide ranging discography, much to the delight of the audience. I wasn’t much of a Papadosio fan prior to this performance; in fact, I only began listening to them as background music for when I was studying. However, this performance was one of the most enjoyable live shows I’ve seen and I would highly recommend seeing Papadosio during their next show in Ithaca.
Daniel Moran is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology. He currently serves as an assistant arts and entertainment editor on The Sun’s editorial board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.