by Matt Kelchner
At this point I’m convinced there is something in the water in Baltimore (and I mean that in the best way possible). Over the past years, a laundry list of amazing bands has risen from Charm City to shine in the national spotlight. Get ready to add another name to the list as Dope Body is poised to break out. Saturday night they took to the stage with a blazing fury at Johnny Brenda’s, hot off the release of Lifer, their latest on Drag City Records. A pair of local two piece bands, Heavy Medical and Pinkwash, opened.
Both Heavy Medical and Pinkwash hail from Philadelphia, but that’s not the only thing they share in common. Both are made up of just two members. They also both play a version of punk that skews more towards the noisier end. The striking difference between each is that Pinkwash features a guitarist while Heavy Medical have a bassist. Both bands took to the stage Saturday night with fierce, energetic sets that warmed the crowd up for Dope Body.
For years now, I only knew of Dope Body as being a band from Baltimore that put on one incredible show. With a new album out, I told myself I would not be missing this show. It would end up being a wise decision for not just myself, but anyone that journeyed to Johnny Brenda’s Saturday night.
After a handful of releases, Dope Body signed to Drag City Records in 2012. Since then they have gone on to put out two additional albums, Natural History (2012) and Lifer (2014). The latter being only a few weeks old. With each, the group has garnered more and more attention from national outlets. Saturday night they came to prove that there’s much more to them than just the hype.
The center of attention of pointed to the collection of new songs on Lifer Saturday night. Songs like “AOL” and “Hired Gun” demonstrated the whirling, borderline chaotic performances that Dope Body are known for. Riff after riff from guitarist Zachary Utz pummeled the audience while a steady background courtesy of bassist John Jones and drummer David Jacober held down the rhythm section. In front of this all was their charismatic and mesmerizing frontman Andrew Laumann. His character and poise on stage, song in and song out only added to the culminating night for Dope Body.
It’s easy to tell that bigger and better things are on the way for Dope Body. With the command of the stage and crowd they showed Saturday, it will only be a matter of time until they take on bigger venues. Be sure to catch them now for one of the best live, intimate performances you’ll see before it’s too late!