For fans of: Charles Bradley, Antibalas, The Beatles
July 5th FREE SHOW
Opening Act: 7pm
Three years ago, Super Doppler bought a used van, booked over 150 shows in nine months, and embarked on their first-ever national tour. There were no labels or booking agents or tour managers at the time, just a bunch of twenty-somethings with an independent streak and a shared love of making music. It wasn’t glamorous—it still isn’t—but they all agreed it beat the hell out of working a day job. Known originally as Major & the Monbacks, this group of former high school classmates pushed their original van to its limits and beyond with their relentless tour schedule, developing a rapport with the tow truck drivers of the greater Norfolk area as they burned through three different engines and blossomed from local favorites into one of the most promising young rock bands working today. They’ve got a new van now, and, more importantly, they’ve got a new album to go with it, one that fully delivers on their promise and then some.
Produced by fellow Virginia wunderkind Matthew E. White, ‘Moonlight Anthems’ is a raucous blend of soul, roots, and rock that tips its cap equally to Levon and Lennon. The album is the debut under the name “Super Doppler”, and it finds them building off the wave of critical success garnered by their eponymous ‘Major and the Monbacks’ 2015 debut. Pop Matters hailed that album’s “propulsive soul energy,” while The Huffington Post described its sound as “Chicago meets the Grateful Dead meets The Band,” and RVA Magazine raved that it had “not only revived, but given a psychedelic face-lift to the soundtrack of the dancehalls of the ’50s and ’60s.” The record offered but a taste of Super Dopplers’ ecstatic live show, which began to draw sell-out crowds across the region and earned the band a slew of high profile festival slots everywhere from Firefly to Floyd Fest in addition to support dates with Charles Bradley, Os Mutantes, Antibalas, and more.
It would have been hard to predict all of this back in the group’s early days, though. The band initially grew out of informal, after-school bedroom jams led by bassist Cole Friedman and his twin brother Neal, a gifted keyboard player and singer. The sessions were what you’d expect from a bunch of teenagers: loose, fun, and all over the map. Players came and went as the band’s sound morphed and matured, but when the dust finally settled, a core six-piece remained: the Friedman twins, plus brothers Michael and Bryan Adkins (guitar/vocals and drums), percussionist Tyler West, and guitarist/vocalist Harry Slater.
Music ran deep in each of their veins. The Friedmans’ grandfather owned a record store on the African American side of town called Frankie’s Birdland, which had served as the epicenter of The Norfolk Sound, an early mix of horn-fueled rock and soul that put artists like Gary “US” Bonds on the map. The Adkins’ father toured up and down the East Coast in the 70’s with a few different bands. West showed such a proclivity for percussion as a youngster (he’d create makeshift drum kits out of pots and pans) that his grandparents nicknamed him “Bammer,” and Slater was an instrument obsessive who made the unlikely transition from roadie to one of the group’s primary songwriters.
“It’d be difficult for anyone to pinpoint a specific musical identity or pigeonhole what we do into a set genre,” reflects Michael. “With us, the diversity is the point.”