07/21/2019 Dope @ The Apollo Theater

Having seen Dope on their tour for the “Felons and Revolutionaries” album almost 20 years ago I was really looking forward to seeing them again all of these years later. The best part about catching up with this band live is to see what has changed. Frankly, not much. They still kick ass in a live setting. Granted there has been turnover here and there the core 4 members are still there and giving it everything they have. To this day I still bump the Felons album so it was pretty cool to hear they would mainly be playing content off of it this tour. The best part is digging out all of their other albums and jamming those too just in case they sneak anything else into the set list. Absolutely worth the time invested.

As I stroll into The Apollo Theater, I spot some familiar faces and say “Hey” then I work my way up to the stage. The crowd has already filed in for this vintage bill and it was buzzing. Up front were a handful of fans decked out in Dope t-shirts. Quickly, I decided that was probably a great spot to stand and get clicks from. 

One by one the members of Dope take the pitch black stage. Once set the stage illuminated with their insignia on the backing digital board covering the entire back stage. The band fires into “Blood Money” as Edsel hits the stage with a strut and swagger that years on the road can only give you. From behind a metal pedestal the Dope front man lets out a growl along with several head bangs. the show is off and running. The folks behind me decked out in Dope gear screamed every song word for word. The rest of the packed crowd sang and moshed through the set. In all honesty it was almost deafening to be up front in the photo well. The band clearly soaked up the energy and projected it back through their physical performance. Edsel’s vocals were strong, heavy and intense. He completely controlled the stage. 

Even through the proclaimed “Shittiest song in history” a cover titled “Spin Me Round”. Acey and Virus gave in your face performances. Quite literally. They were on the edge of the stage engaging with the enthused audience. Hell, they leaned over and went right into my lens a few times. Note for note. Pick by pick. These guys were on it. High flying off of the metal pedestals when the opportunity arose. My images do not do the shows awesomeness any justice.

Best song of the night was “Debonaire” outside of a cover this was probably the most popular song of theirs. When the lead started the room really came alive. Bodies started moving around at a fevered pitch. The drums seemed to smack even louder than before. Ricci Shay really punished his kick all show. The whole band had really kicked up the intensity and power. I think that really goes to show their overall vitality and long term stamina. A true ability to survive and kick ass after 20 years in the business. 

With any luck I am hoping to get in for their Milwaukee show in December. They were so good I have to go back and catch them again on their anniversary tour. Kudos Dope, you made this album owner very, very happy. 

Set List:
- Blood Money
- 6 6 Sick
- Bring It On
- Debonaire
- Die MF Die
- I’m Back
- Sick 
- Burn
- Addiction
- Spin Me Round

Using Format