DeadPhish Orchestra, yea, it’s exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve never heard of them and aren’t attracted by the name immediately don’t dismiss them quite so soon, because they probably have something your craving. Whether its complex jams topped with screaming guitar climaxes or the simple tunes that everyone can enjoy, DPO can and will provide the best of both worlds. DPO is comprised of Chris Sheldon on drums/vocals, Paul Murin on guitar/vocals, Brian Adams on bass/vocals, and Ted Tilton on keys/vocals.
The show being reviewed was 12/21/2012, (the end of the world) at the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO. DPO opened for local group, Hot Soup, led by guitarist Matt Flaherty. Unfortunately sickness prevented me from staying through Hot Soup’s set (although I caught their perfect rendition of The Final Countdown by the band, Europe). DPO took the stage in the practically vacant Fox Theater and slapped the small audience awake with a Down With Disease opener, which led to an Estimated Prophet via an extended disease jam that highlighted the bands stable flow. Moving effortlessly from major to minor in unison and filling empty space like it’s their job, the band funked out the end of Estimated Prophet, which transitioned smoothly into a very well executed 2001. DPO ended this four song run which they called “Down With Cumberland’s 2001 Prophet” with an interesting transition into Cumberland Blues that really changed the pace.
Other highlights of the show include when DPO invited Matt Flaherty of Hot Soup to join them on stage for a few songs on a count of it being Flaherty’s 21'st birthday. With Flaherty on board, the group set off on a three-song run they would later name, “Feel Like A Sanity Cat”. This began with a flawless and beautifully performed China Cat that slipped into a cheerful version of Sanity. By this time the crowd had grown five times its original size and was picking up a lot of momentum. From Sanity, the group dove into Feel Like A Stranger where keys player, Ted Tilton really showed off his Weir-like voice and energy. Next, Flaherty breaks into a ripping solo then turns around to duel up with bassist, Brian Adams. Matching rhythm, Adams and Flaherty laid a solid foundation for DPO guitarist, Paul Murin to lay down an incredibly funky closing solo that would end that particular run of songs.
Another terrific run was, “Divided Dew” which, as you can probably guess, was Divided Sky and Morning Dew. The group (including Flaherty) began with Divided Sky where bassist, Brian Adams really shined in the role of Mike Gordon. One of the most impressive segments of the night was when the group as a whole absolutely killed the tension building, “circus part” of Divided Sky, then Flaherty and Murin matched rhythm guitar parts in an “Allman Brothers (Jessica)” fashion that was incredibly pivotal and fun to watch. Flaherty’s solo in this song was his best of the set. Effortlessly keeping the energy at a maximum level, Flaherty continued to make many interesting and sometimes daring improvisations that were welcomed by the band and audience alike.
Later in the night, when Flaherty had left the stage, DPO launched into an enthusiastic Possum that contained a Lowrider tease, as well as a Simpsons tease, which the crowd responded to appropriately by screaming, “Doh!” The show concluded with an epic Harry Hood where Adams did a brilliant job of dropping those heavy bass bombs. The highlight of the song was at the end when the band normally sings together, “Feelin good, good, good about hood”, however this time they replaced these lyrics with the chorus from R.E.M.’s It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, hinting at the Mayan-predicted apocalypse.
In conclusion, if you understood half of the things said in this review and you still haven’t seen DeadPhish Orchestra, you should absolutely check them out. Get an $8 ticket the next time you see them pop up on your local theater bill, and enjoy this incredibly talented, modernized hybrid of your two favorite bands, you wont be disappointed!