By Ellie Robson
Dorothy “Dodie” Clark, commonly known by her online username “doddleoddle,” took to the stage at Norwich venue ‘The Waterfront’ on October 29th for the penultimate show of her current tour. The tour celebrated the release of her highly anticipated second EP “You” on August 11th, which followed her 2016 debut EP, “Intertwined”. Prior to the release of her EPs, Dodie released her music on her YouTube channel, which recently hit 1,000,000 subscribers. She continues to post original content on the website, with professional recordings of 12 of these songs spread across her two EPs.
Unsurprisingly, due to her large online following, the tickets for the “You” tour sold out within minutes of their release this summer and this was reflected in the huge crowd gathered before the Waterfront doors had even opened. An astonishing sense of community built up among the waiting fans, with many people, including myself, meeting those they were attending the gig with for the first time that evening. Regardless even of the performance of the acts that evening, this managed to create a powerful and welcoming atmosphere before anyone even entered the venue, a wonderful thing for any artist to achieve.
Two support acts preceded Dodie’s set; the first of these was Declan J. Donovan, a songwriter with successful hits such as “Better” and “Fallen So Young”. Although he was unknown to most of the audience, Donovan quickly won them over with his sweet acoustic ballads and strong performance, entirely proving his deserved place as a support for Dodie.
Donovan was followed by the equally talented Greta Isaac, who, despite having a slightly inconsistent vocal performance, compensated for this with the fantastic atmosphere her songs created. Again, her work was unfamiliar to most of the audience, but her funky, layered songs quickly captured people’s attention and her funny and charismatic engagements with the audience between songs made her a great transition act before Dodie’s appearance. Whilst Donovan performed alone, both Dodie and Isaac were backed by flawless bands and vocalists.
Dodie opened her set with “One for the Road,” which immediately demonstrated the crowd’s enthusiasm for her music. Unfortunately, this also revealed something which was an issue for a remainder of the evening, that Dodie’s soft and emotional performances were often overpowered by the audience, making it difficult to hear her vocals. In an intimate venue like ‘The Waterfront’, I expected Dodie’s staple performance style to be a perfect fit. But, thanks to the over-excited singing and shouting of a few audience members, this was made impossible.
This aside, when Dodie’s vocals could be heard, she exceeded the audience’s expectations, particularly as, for many young people present, attending this gig was a dream come true. Dodie’s set list was perfectly ordered to enable the entire audience to experience the same emotional journey together, and was interspersed with inspiring speeches from the 22-year-old performer about mental health struggles.
After her opening choices of “In The Middle” and “Absolutely Smitten,” Dodie shifted to a sadder and more vulnerable mood, with songs including “When” and “6/10” creating the opportunity for a discussion on the feelings of inadequacy that we all experience. Finally, Dodie closed with “Party Tattoos” and “Would You Be So Kind?”, an upbeat and exciting song to contrast with her earlier heart-wrenching performance.
I was also really impressed with the venue management. The small room became overheated extremely quickly, and security and venue staff acted quickly to distribute water and aid unwell audience members. The gig experience may not have been the greatest, due to the overly excited and, at times, disruptive audience, but the singers all gave great performances and I would recommend ‘The Waterfront’ as a great local venue and urge everyone to check out the music of all three artists on Spotify.
Image courtesy of Alice Williams