February 1, 2011

Dr. Dog - 9:30 Club - January 28, 2011

Awesome Display at Dr. Dog's Pony Show

The Philadelphia-rooted rock sextet blew into Washington for the first of a two-night, super sold-out stint at our very own 930 Club. Not only was it the first night in DC, it was their first night anywhere on the latest road show.  And they illustrated quickly why they should be called the doctor of anything.

Pseudo-locals, Sub Pop signees and openers The Head and the Heart impressed this tough critic, and I'll even give them a pass for "hailing" from Seattle but being from Fredericksburg, VA; they were an appropriate opener for such a late start, and a great act to see live as a first listen (a second listen revealed that their musicianship > songwriting).  They're pretty standard issue alt country/folksy indie, with lead singer(s) with lovely little voices that will keep them from sheer obscurity.

TH&TH were so good, I lost track of time (even though I've read several complaints about set times being late).  That really never happens for me at a packed 9:30 Club show, where anticipation and crowd anxiety builds up between bands.

After a fleeting intermission, Dr. Dog came on, dressed in custom pom pom ski caps and striped shirts (we tweeted that we'd found Waldo).  The gang followed the Tweedy-twinged I Only Wear Blue with an energetic, meandering setlist, illuminated by highlights in Stranger, Shadow People, Worst Trip, and a glowing graffiti-esque, stained-glass-like backdrop.  A cover of Architecture in Helsinki's Heart It Races was a welcome surprise, too, as this blog has been forever fond of the song, and hope it gets the attention it deserves!  Sure, they missed my favorite ("she gets dressed up like a pillow so she's always in bed" is one of the catchiest, odd lyrics ever written), but they rocked the diverse 9:30 Club crowd that night.

Scott McMicken has a Craig Finn energy, which sits well with this Hold Steady lover, and for all my complaining on this blog about a lack of originality, there's something about Dr. Dog.  They keep it ugly in the way that many bands try to, but without it feeling articficial; the growl at the end of Toby Leaman's vocals keeping the songs from being too sweet, and the headbanded percussionist banging away in the corner contrasting with the harmonizing guitars.  See my scorecard for a little more info.  This review was hard to write, just as I'm sure Dr. Dog is hard to read.


I Only Wear Blue
Hang On
The Breeze
The Ark
Unbearable Why
The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer
Take Me Into Town
Shadow People
The Way The Lazy Do
Worst Trip
Heart It Races (Architecture in Helsinki cover)
Old Days
The Beach (Fate)
Mirror, Mirror
Shame, Shame

Jackie Wants a Black Eye
Oh No
Fools Life

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