On Oct. 6, Oakland’s Fox Theater was absolutely radiating with delight, thanks to dodie’s performance that night. dodie’s concert was an hour and fifteen minutes of collective happiness and support for others, as the artist sought to involve the audience and uplift them as much as possible throughout her performance.
For those that don’t know her, dodie, also known as Dorothy or Dodie Clark, got her start on YouTube, joining the likes of Troye Sivan and Jacob Collier in gaining massive success through the platform. dodie even won a Shorty Award in 2017 for YouTube Musician, the same year that she reached a million subscribers. Her songs cover a wide variety of topics, including anxiety, depression, family, her bisexuality and less serious topics, such as f—boys and threesomes. These topics, no matter how serious, are explored within a charming and simplistic sound. Her original repertoire includes three EPs, including her most recent, Human, which was the focus of this tour.
The most evident part of dodie’s concert was the undeniable joy felt by every member of the audience, as the same joyful energy was constantly exuding from dodie herself. Her brief yet personable anecdotal intros to each song were delightful, allowing everyone to feel involved in dodie’s state of mind, both in the moment of the performance and when she wrote the song. Before her performance of “Secret for the Mad,” she dedicated the song to everyone who came, especially those who had a hard time doing so, commenting on her own struggles with mental illness. On a lighter note, before “Absolutely Smitten,” she remarked that she “wrote this song a long time ago and it doesn’t really make sense,” launching into the song soon after the audience chuckled. She sought to involve the audience on every level, even handing out the band’s setlists at the end of the show.
The artist’s personability extended to larger aspects of the show, especially her songwriting and song structure. While she had a full band, she accompanied herself on piano, guitar and ukulele for the majority of her songs, just as she does when they are recorded. When she wasn’t showcasing her instrumental talents, she gracefully fluttered about the stage in her black-and-white striped socks, doing cartwheels, handstands and banging on drums. Throughout the performance, it was easy to see dodie’s passion for entertaining, as she was extremely comfortable with herself onstage and her face lit up when the audience sang along to her songs as if it were the first time.
On the technical side, the show boasted impeccable lighting design, enhancing the performance quality tenfold. The set for the performance was incredibly simple, using a light-up “dodie” sign and fairy lights as decoration. In her song “6/10,” each instrument was illuminated as it joined the already emotional song, adding spotlights on the strings, then the guitar, then the backup singers before finally moving to just dodie on the last line — “a lot of pity for the plain girl.” Additionally, the stage frequently illuminated itself in rainbow lights, even switching to those of the bisexual pride flag, a nod to dodie’s own identity and that of many in her fanbase. While the simplistic set design may not have worked for some, this design made sense for dodie as an artist, as many of her songs are simplistic yet magical. Through this simplicity, dodie’s audiences are able to connect to the lyrics and meaning behind the songs. The concert’s one misstep was throwing in all of dodie’s more energetic and upbeat songs at the end of the concert, leaving the audience wanting more from the artist as the concert came to a close. This was one of the limitations of dodie’s repertoire, as most of her songs are simpler, slower and tackle heavy subject matter, which isn’t a bad thing when listening to her music outside of a concert setting.
An evening at dodie’s concert reminds the concertgoer that we all are human, our faults, anxieties, insecurities and goofiness included. It was easy to connect with those around us for a short time because of the pure joy dodie exhibits, making it a fun night for all involved.