On Friday night, September 20th, as you walked into Marathon Music Works, you were greeted with the scene of the vast space in front of the stage packed full of people trying to get as close to the front as possible. Young adults and teens alike were pushing to get the best view of an independent artist who was finally on her first headlining tour across the United States. In fact, the entire venue had been sold out to see Dorothy Clark, known as her artist name Dodie, a singer/songwriter from the UK.
It was (finally) a cooler night that Friday, along the otherwise quiet street outside Marathon Music Works. Fans lined up in droves at the entrance, excited to see an up and coming artist from across the ocean.
To start off the show, Adam Melchor, an independent artist from New Jersey, walked out on the stage to start off with an explosive introduction to his first song, “I Don’t Wanna See You Cryin’ Anymore,” using some vocal effects on top of his already powerful and silky voice to give it that extra spark. Melchor was alone on stage with just his guitar, no other instrumentalists or backing tracks, but his presence seemed to take up the entire stage. His first song was simple and slow, but it captured everyone’s attention. After finishing with the song, he introduced himself to the crowd, which garnered many a cheers from the audience. He exclaimed how excited he was to be traveling with Dodie and getting to know her band, and was honored to be able to open for her.
After his quick introduction, he jumped into his next song titled “Metadata,” which he said, “it’s pretty much a fancy way of talking about getting ghosted,” which earned some giggles. With a slightly livelier guitar accompaniment, the crowd started to sway and nod their heads to the rhythm. Again, while Melchor doesn’t have the deepest of voices, his melodies are still strong with a silky tone as to how he expresses the notes.
Next, Melchor introduced his song titled, “The Archer,” which he quickly went on to explain, “No it’s not the new Taylor Swift song, but I thank her for giving me a few accidental streams for anyone who was looking for her song.” You could quickly see how Melchor liked to engage with the audience, taking time between each song to talk and tell a quick story and really make everyone feel like they were having a conversation of sorts. He explained that this song was about wanting to talk to people you can’t talk to anymore, and moved into somber melody mixing well with his vocals that immediately pulled everyone into the performance. Melchor easily slipped into high notes that impressed everyone and earned cheers and claps from the crowd.
After slowing the pace down a bit, Melchor then brought the mood back up by playing his new single, “I Choose You,” set to come out in November, and his newest single “Joyride” right after. Both were more upbeat, but still having that chill vibe that fits Melchor’s singer/songwriter style. However, for his second to last song, he decided to do a cover of Rihanna’s “Needed Me,” which showed off his impressive range and got the entire audience hyped up. Melchor ended his set with his song, “Real Estate,” which was a sweet, happy song and a fan-favorite among the audience.
After Melchor left the stage, his background banner floated down to reveal a backdrop with a neon sign that spelled out “dodie,” and immediately the crowd started cheering and pressing farther to the front. After fifteen minutes of shuffling excitement, the entire stage went dark with the exception of one spotlight on the center microphone. Surrounded by fog, Dodie’s figure walked up from the stage to take her place in that spotlight, met with hundreds of cheers from everyone in the audience before she even sang a word.
Dodie began the night with her quieter song, “Arms Unfolding,” which quickly quieted the crowd to be able to hear her words as she sang. However, the song was short, and after demanding attention with her quiet presence at first, Dodie quickly jumped into her more upbeat song, “Monster,” which had the crowd dancing from the first couple of notes and singing along to all the words.
After her first two songs, Dodie sat down behind her piano and asked the audience with a quiet voice how everyone was doing, which was met with lots of cheers. While Dodie is normally known for her more quiet singing style, she explained that she had been diagnosed with bronchitis while she was on the road, which she said was, “not cute.” She then went on to say that she was still going to give it her all that night, and jumped into her next song, “Human.” Slowing the pace back down, this song had amazing swells both in her voice as well as accompanied by her violin and cello players. As she transitioned into her next songs, “If I’m Being Honest,” “6/10,” and “Sick of Losing Solemates,” she continued to use those swells to really emphasize her messages within the songs, and you could tell she poured all of her emotions into the performances. Though Dodie’s voice isn’t strong, it is very articulate and demands attention by speaking about big topics with beautiful intricate melodies.
Dodie then jumped into her next song, “Not What I Meant,” which was more upbeat and featured her bass player also as a backup vocalist that created some amazing harmonies that enriched the song, and made it that much better mixing Dodie’s higher small voice with a deep complimenting one.
Getting back behind the piano, Dodie then played the last song on her newest EP, “Burned Out.” Truly an anthem for artists, the song goes into detail about how even after all the success and the love she’s gotten from fans, it still never feels like enough, and depicts the process of burning out on your creative passion, music and songwriting being that for Dodie. However, after a song that brought the mood down a bit, she strategically transitioned into her next song, “A Secret for the Mad,” which comforts the listener by explaining that it will always get better, which is a message she wanted to leave her fans with that night. If nothing else, as this song encapsulates, know that you are loved and that no matter what the situation is now, it will be better. With such a personal message, it made almost everyone in the crowd tear up and sniffles were heard in the quieter parts of the song.
After a song that was a bit of group therapy for everyone, the mood was brought back up with the next song titled, “You”, which featured a more happy and upbeat tone about moving on. With the mood a bit lighter, Dodie then went into her song simply titled, “She,” about having conflicting feelings having a crush on a girl. The crowd loved it, singing proudly along with her, a few rainbow pride flags waving from certain parts of the audience as well. After she was done singing the song, Dodie smiled and said, “Every time I sing that song people sing it louder, which I think means the world’s getting better,” which earned a lot of loud cheers and claps from the crowd.
Dodie then went on to perform a new song that hadn’t been released yet and her newest single, “Guiltless,” which again encapsulated incredible swells accompanied by sweeping motions of the lights. After that bit of upbeat songs, she then sat behind the piano again and sang another tear-jerker called, “When.” With a beautiful piano and violin instrumental piece at the beginning, Dodie’s voice rang out with so much emotion that clearly resonated with the audience as once again tears clouded nearly everyone’s eyes.
After wiping away the tears and getting done with the sniffles, Dodie then brought Adam Melchor back out to sing a quick little rendition of “Country Roads,” a bit of a country crowd-pleaser that had everyone singing along. Joined also with her bass player and guitar player as vocalists, they performed a short 4-way harmony of the classic country song, then quickly transitioned into her happier song, “Absolutely Smitten,” which had the whole audience dancing along. Dodie’s band kept the country twang poking out here and there within the song to give it a whole new feel, and had everyone jumping around to the beat. Keeping that same energy, the next song was, “Would You Be So Kind?” which is a cute song about asking someone politely to fall in love with them.
To end the night, Dodie thanked everyone for being such a great audience, and then began her song, “In the Middle.” Definitely a standout of the night, the song had a driving beat that had everyone singing and dancing with abandon. Dodie even brought out an extra drum to really bang out that deep rhythm, providing an extra thud within everyone’s chest. After the energetic finish, the whole band came together to link arms, bow, and wave goodbye like the end of a broadway performance.
All in all, Dodie’s performance was a rollercoaster of emotions that touched on so many deep topics but ended up bringing the audience closer together by the end of the night. Even battling through sickness, Dodie managed to give an emotional performance that left everyone feeling fulfilled by the end of the night.