Dope Lemon at L’Olympia: Pure Psychosis

What is it that is captured by the pseudonym of Dope Lemon? For one, it is a psychedelic experience orchestrated by Australian singer-songwriter, Angus Stone. Listeners might as well gear up with their bell bottoms and a tightly rolled joint, as Stone’s music very much mimics the sensations of lying in the beating sun at late-1960s Woodstock. The strong folk and indie influences from Stone’s earlier musical duo, alongside sister Julia Stone, carry through into his newest project, Dope Lemon. Dope Lemon was established as Stone’s new artistic front in 2016. With the desire to explore a more rhythmic and upbeat style of music, the vocal production fluctuates between soft-sung lyrics and instances of recitative, similar to spoken-word, style of voice. Stone’s investment in creating Dope Lemon has re-introduced audiences to the 70s pop-rock age.  

This past Monday, November 1st, Dope Lemon and brilliant touring musicians Leigh Fisher, Louis King, Brad Heald and JP Dominique stunned Montreal’s L’Olympia crowd. The late thirty-year-old grooved effortlessly on stage, jamming alongside bandmates, and raising screams when tilting his hat to the audience. His electric energy had everybody watching convinced he had not aged since his twenties. During the band’s performance of “Hey You,” the leading track off of their Smooth Big Cat record, Stone’s distorted megaphone vocals cut smoothly against the shakers and eclectic bongo beat. Audience members moved their hips sensually and swayed to the burlesque ambiance, not stopping during King’s gritty guitar solo.   

Attracting a diverse range of concertgoers, Dope Lemon’s intricate sound ruminated the venue. During “Just You & Me” from Stone’s newly released work, Kimosabé, it became clear that this music thrives for both those who wish to be taken back to the times of Flower Power and Gen-Z, looking for easy listening. The band’s live performance of “Just You & Me” encapsulated the much-needed break from the burdens of the outside world, providing tranquillity at its finest.  

A much-needed spotlight should be used to credit lighting and effects designers of the tour. From a classic strobe to the detailed backdrops projecting a visual for each story sung by Stone, Dope Lemon’s artistry was able to flourish beyond sound.  

There was an otherworldly sensation to the show. Audience members were taken on a psychedelic trip through time, space, and reality. An eclectic compilation of instruments highlighted Stone’s creativity in composition, and exposed audience members of all ages to music reflecting the work of greats. Elements of Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin and The Rolling Stones were heard throughout the evening. Dope Lemon’s performance was truly a concert for everyone.