Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ocassionally I have a hunkerin' that I need to go see a band live, despite the fact that I'm not familiar with their material. The first was Umphrey's McGee a few years back. I even went to the extreme of buying tickets for people to go with me. And it paid off, as they provide such an array of material, it's tough to get sick of them (although my inner umphreak has wained ... as is natural).
That hunkerin came a callin' again last month, when I heard Dr. Dog was coming to Revolution Hall in Troy.
The Philidelphia-based band, with a sound often likened to the Beatles, The Band and the Beach Boys (I'll get to that), got their break (who'da thought) going on tour with My Morning Jacket in 2004.
Last month at Rev Hall was the first time I'd seen them live, although they flew under my radar at a couple festivals I was at in past years. Maybe that's a good thing, because the sound I heard was polished.
They delivered a live performance that was all people said it was, raw and powerful. They even had a new drummer with them (who sounded spot on).
An untrained ear might think Dr. Dog was playing Beatles cover songs, but they put a great new age folk/rock twist on them as to make them their own.
For example, they opened up the show with a very Beatlesesque "My Old Ways."
Other songs, like "Alaska" (stream it on the top, right of the page), have more of a 'Band' feel.
Seeing them live, you aren't thinking about who they sound like. You're more concerned with the energy on stage. Lead vocals are shared song-to-song between the bass player, Taxi (yes! they have nicknames), and the guitarist/keyboards, Tables. Taxi provides the punch, with a lot of energy and movement. He often goes shirtless or wears a wife beater as was the case this night. Tables compliments well with his arrangements, often switching from guitar to keys. Some songs involve all members harmonizing, which, with the dual lead harmonies on guitar, give their sound a really washed-out, 60's acid-era Beatles feel. Pretty refreshing, ask me.
They went on to play a bunch of favorites of their 2008 release, Fate, that I recognized from my limited exposure. Songs like, The Breeze, Hang On and The Ark. They also offered up some new material off their upcoming album Shame, Shame, due out April 6.
All-in-all, it was a highly entertaining show at my favorite indoor venue.
So, have a listen for yourself. If you remotely like their studio stuff, go see this band live. Ignore the hipster crowd and just rock out. It's a nice revival of 60's era rock with a modern spin. Also, grab Shame, Shame when it comes out in April.