Drugdealer | Concert Review
Drugdealer’s Album Release at Market Hotel
A few weeks ago we made the trek out to the Market Hotel to experience the release show of Drugdealer's latest album, Raw Honey. I say “experience” not to be pretentious, but because it was just that.
First off, the venue is an experience in of itself. Location: Brooklyn. Aesthetic: slightly derelict...but charming? It's a no frills space complete with toilet paper on a rope and uneven sticky floors. There's even a notoriously large pillar that will obstruct about 65% of the audience's view of the stage. Joking aside, it's smack next to the JMZ subway line, giving you an excellent view of trains and the passersby. Few things prove to be as visually pleasing as watching the M slog by during a particularly good set.
Now onto the show, which was set to celebrate the release of Raw Honey, an album that's as sweet as its name. Drugdealer is an LA-based, lo-fi psych folk pop group helmed by Michael Collins. Their sound is evocative of a bygone era, in homage to the '60s and '70s. It's woozy, heavy on instrumentals, and holds that hippie vibe near and dear. There's a definite timelessness to it all. The songs are upbeat and familiar, retro, whimsy, dreamy. Their newest album is a spectacular piece of work, and this show was an orchestrated and pure celebration of music.
Collins handpicked a crop of musicians to open the show that similarly privilege older tropes, styles, and sounds of music past. Enter Dougie Pool; a cosmic cowboy with a no-nonsense baritone. Think Father John Misty meets Roy Orbison meets spaghetti western vibes. With little pomp and circumstance, his music spoke for itself—classic country with a twangy, emotional, and authentic spin that had us swooning.
Following the stoic cowboy came The Apple Bonkers—an intriguing name for an equally intriguing collective of musicians. Specializing in classic rock covers and some pretty excellent showmanship, these fellas served up a selection from the likes of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, The Mamas & The Papas, ELO, Fleetwood Mac, and even threw in some Gnarls Barkley. Real crowd pleasers all in all, setting the tone with some serious goof and pure joy. Everyone was groovin'.**
Were we confused? Yes. Were we enthused? Yes.
**It must also be noted that Mr. Collins aka Drugdealer frontman was spotted in the wings during The Apple Bonkers set, straight up loving life. The boy was besotted with the crooning and grooving cover band, and his pure emotion and love of the showmanship and community engendered through music was infectious.
All in all, we left with a shared sentiment: it was easily one of the most fun and genuine shows we'd seen in some time. Dougie Pool lured us in hook line and sinker with his cosmic twang, The Apple Bonkers pumped us up and took us down memory lane, and Drugdealer charmed with his retro harmonies and swelling instrumentals. It was a great show that paid homage to music of the past in the best way. It celebrated it, poked fun at it, and made us dance. We left reveling in the pure joy that radiated from the performers. Collins' intent was clear; he curated a night of music tinged with nostalgia, hell bent on a good time.