A sold-out show at the Roseland Theater causes the line to be wrapped around the entire block of the downtown music venue in Portland on Friday, Oct. 6. The line featured loads of teen girls and almost everyone was wearing yellow. A bag of little slips of paper and ‘thank you’ notes were passed down the line. Everyone is here for Dodie Clark (known as Dodie or doddleoddle on social media), a UK-based musician and YouTuber.
As the venue fills up, the general audience is buzzing with excitement. You see a lot of parents dropping their kids off on the ground-floor as they make their way upstairs to the 21+ section. Dodie’s main fanbase is young girls, varying between 16-20 years old; the age group of self-identity and vulnerability and through Dodie, they find a home during her concerts. This group of people is often without a voice, forced to float in unfamiliar terrain until they are well into their twenties. I think that’s what blew me away during this concert. Seeing girls as young as thirteen, holding their friends as Dodie performs “Sick of Losing Soulmates” to young women swaying with their partners to “Would You Be So Kind?”. They find a home with Dodie.
The opener is New Jersey native, Adam Melchor, a talent on the guitar with the vocal capacity of legends. In between songs, he kept the crowd entertained with his stories about his grandmother, an Oregon native (which was a big hit for this crowd) and the backgrounds of some of his songs. The story process of his song “Joyride” is chaotic in the best way.
Between Adam’s set and Dodie’s, the audience was joyously singing to the playlist. From Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s” and Ariana Grande’s “God Is A Woman”, the venue was buzzing with positive energy.
As the lights turn down and you know Dodie is about to come on stage, I assumed the crowd was going to start pushing and shoving itself in order to get as close as they could to the barricade. But I was surprised by how calm (but excited) the crowd was; the only thing that happened was the screams they erupted from the voices of the GA floor. Unlike the several other shows I’ve seen as the Roseland, no one pushed when Dodie walked on stage. Later in the show when a girl fainted, the crowd was quick to draw attention to the down girl and made room for the medics to help her. Even Dodie was surprised at the calmness and quietness of the crowd when troubled brewed.
Dodie opens with a soft, gospel song “Arms Unfolding” as she stands under two white lights. It’s a slow introduction to the show and features as the first song on her EP, Human. She switches it up with a more upbeat song, “Monster”; her second song on Human. She bounces around the stage, getting the audience to clap along to the song. She’s as bubbly as the beat of the song. Donning a guitar, the vibes slow down a bit as she performs “Human”. “6/10” follows; a slow start to the actual lyrics of the song she talks about it’s meaning and how she is still relating to this song even though she wrote it when she was a teenager.
Dodie is a unique act in that she has been producing her own music since 2011 via YouTuber where she has a subscriber count of over one million. Her vulnerability with herself and her audience gives her a relatability factor that most indie musicians don’t have as much as they strive for it. Maybe that’s why her fans are genuine and care about her so much that they are passing what can be called love notes down the line in order for the audience to participate in a ‘thank you’ during a couple of her songs. During her song “She” little pieces of paper that were passed down the line while standing outside come out and are held against phone flashlights to light up the crowd in rainbow colors. Dodie’s music is soft and gentle while still being powerful. Known for her openness with her mental illnesses - depression and dissociation - she uses her platform on YouTube and social media to raise awareness of mental illnesses. With her music, she is able to share her highs and lows of mental illness in order to normalize these expectations of dealing with them. Before her song “Secret For The Mad”, which is about coming out of a dark mentality, she tells the audience that while she hopes no one can relate to this song, that this song is for those looking for the light. [During this song, several fans held up the ‘thank you’ notes]. Her songs are her way to share with her audience what she is feeling. Whether that is about f*ckbois in her newest song “Boys Like You” or family problems in “Guiltless”, or the expectations of her fame in “Burned Out”.
Dodie’s songs are heartful and hopeful, varying on topics like crushes to mental health journies - both the dark and happy. Dodie has created a safe space for young women and queer folks, where they are able to be vulnerability and intimate with each other without judgment, whether she knows it or not.
Keep an eye out for a Q&A interview with Dodie Clark by Madilyn Sturges