Hot on the heels of the release of their 4th studio album “Kimosabe”, Australia’s Dope Lemon wrapped up their most recent headlining tour at Nashville’s Eastside Bowl. Prior to Saturday, I had always assumed that Dope Lemon was some type of secret that only a select few of my most knowledgeable music friends knew about. I had been secretly collecting the band’s unique vinyls and only telling people whom I deemed “cool enough” about their unbelievably chill and hypnotic sound. Obviously, I had always known they were exceptionally talented, Angus Stone as a musician and creator is widely known in his home country but when it came to the United States I had mistakenly assumed this nation wasn’t hip to his greatness. That delusion came crashing down hard as I walked into what I can only describe as the most packed, sold out show I have attended in my two years in Nashville. The Eastside bowl is a massive two story venue but it was stretched to its capacity as fans were crammed body to body from front to back. It was so full the merch table had to be moved to another room altogether.
Clearly I was mistaken about how widely known Dope Lemon is.
The show began with musical newcomer Franklin Jonas or as he calls himself “The Bonus Jonas”. His personality felt loud and abrasive as he yelled a lot at the crowd. Not in a critical way but he had one of those “party boy” personalities which contrasted his extremely chill music. It might be an age difference type thing, but I couldn’t figure out why he could sing so beautifully and then immediately start yelling into his microphone after the song had finished. Unfortunately, by the time I pushed my way through the crowd to the front his set was over and Dope Lemon was preparing to get started.
The stage curtain pulled open and thick fog filled the venue. Strobes began flashing and Angus raised his guitar into the air. The crowd went absolutely mental as the band flowed into the first few notes of “Stonecutters”.
The energy from the audience felt at almost a Beatles level pandemonium, the screams from behind me were deafening.
Glowing balloons with lights in them rained down from above and as more songs completed the audience eventually leveled off into much more chill vibes. Songs like “Hey You”, “Miami Baby” and “Honey Bones” helped ease the crowd into a more subdued nature. It was quite possibly the best show I have experienced this entire year. So good in fact that I didn’t mind having to come to the realization that I could no longer categorize them as “cult status”. Sometimes it can be disheartening, as a music obsessive to have to share a band you love so much with the world. You can almost cling to the secrecy of an unknown band and selfishly hide them away in fear that they go too “mainstream” but now, I truly want Dope Lemon to become one of the most popular bands in the world.