Monday 7th November
The Borderline, London
If you have any interest in guitars, you have probably heard of Rob Chapman (aka ‘The Monkey Lord’) who has become an internet sensation. His videos on that well know site for your tubes, of both his own and Andertons music shop in Guildford, have tens of thousands of views and hundreds of thousands of subscribers, offering both online tuition and in-depth review of equipment. Oh, and he owns his own named brand guitar company too.
But ‘Chappers’ main passion is fronting the band Dorje. Formed around 2012, the band consists of Gutarist (Ra)Bea ‘Afro’ Massaad, bassist Dave Hollingworth, drummer Ben Minal and vocalist and guitarist Chappers. Bea, Dave and Ben were all friends who moved south to attend the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey. It was a chance meeting with Rob Chapman in Guildford that lead to the band forming around a strong love of bands like Incubus with the aim of making their own style of powerful rock music. A skilled group of artists, they have all become icons in their own right. Check out the website
Fast forward to Monday 7th November 2016 in the small but intimate Borderline Club in London’s busy Soho area and you will find the writer, along with a packed audience, eagerly awaiting the first night of Dorje’s sold out tour, with dates in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham and a slot at the Hard Rock Hell festival in Wales. Having seen them in September play as last minute openers at the Camden Underworld to a sparse crowd, it was great to see an appreciative audience pack the small venue to the low slung rafters.
Supporting act were the excellent Nine Miles South with their brand of Bluesy Rock. It was good to see the crowd warm to the band as they gave a great show of why they will be headlining the Borderline someday soon themselves. Once Nine Miles South had finished their set, the clearly excited crowd vented a huge cheer and rapturous applause with the appearance of Bea and Ben. And that was just for the setup of their rigs.
15 minutes later the band appeared, this time for real, to the again tumultuous applause of the clearly faithful masses. Looking slightly bemused by the reception the boys looked more like a group of friends on stage for a jam than a band on a tour. No gimmicks, no snappy dressing, just four guys with instruments. And boy do these guys know how to play them. It also becomes obvious that they have applied their not inconsiderable skills to the writing and production of their own style of songs.
A Hard Rock sound that is progressive, with unusual timings, interesting chord changes and both soulful and djent sounds, this is a band that will make you sing and mosh in equal measure. As Chappers launches into tracks for their newly released ‘Centred and One’ EP, you can tell that he has worked hard training his voice to keep the power and melodic range but also temper it to last the course of the tour. The smiles on the bands faces as the crowd warms to the new material only grow larger as the small, but perfectly formed faithful do their best to form a mosh pit wall of death within the confines of the Borderlines bijou arena.
With anthemic favourites ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Aeromancy’ the air guitar solo’s were in full flow as Bea showed why his lead guitar playing is adored by so many. I only wish vocalist Chappers would spend more time accompanying him as the dual sounds of their Chapman guitars is truly electric. With Dave’s bass busy in the background – another of those bass players who are more adept with four strings than I ever will be with six – and Ben beating out some frantic yet absorbing rhythms, the tour de force was over far too quickly. But they left the stage looking like they had had a damn good time - I know we did. Luckily, the band are back in the studio writing the follow up to their latest release so hopefully we can expect more from them in the early part of 2017.
Dorje are one of those bands you discover once in a blue moon that make you sit up and take notice. Check out their website , check out their video’s and new EP. But most of all, check them out live at a small venue near you soon. Before they move inevitably onto the larger venues. Oh, and in case you were wondering, a Dorje is a Buddhist ritual object, often used with a bell, where the Dorje represents the male and the bell the female. Very Tantric!
Centred & One
Flower of Life