Tag Archives: Dr. Dog

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Dr. Dog – Terminal 5 – Janaury 25, 2014

January 27th, 2014


Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Dr. Dog Prove They’re Not Too Big to Play Mercury Lounge

September 4th, 2013

Dr. Dog – Mercury Lounge – September 3, 2013


Some of the coolest shows that happen in this town are the ones that seemed impossible just days, weeks or even months prior. And as of late last week, the idea of Dr. Dog playing a venue more than 100 times smaller than the capacity of where they normally play was just that—seemingly impossible. Then on Thursday, they simply announced on Twitter that they’d be playing Mercury Lounge and that tickets would be on sale fewer than two hours after the announcement, a sale that promptly ended in a matter of minutes.

Last night, when the sold-out crowd started to pack the front bar of the venue, the Philadelphia rockers were still sound-checking, and even through the closed doors and heavy drapes, “Distant Light” sounded beautiful enough to hint at what was to come. What followed was certainly no gimmick of a set, well over an hour in length, that stretched past midnight, and showed off everything that Dr. Dog have to offer these days, while giving newer fans a chance to glimpse what they may have missed of the band’s beginnings. There were bouncy, vocal-heavy songs like “Heavy Light” (which they opened with), vein-popping ragers (typically led by bassist-singer Toby Leaman) like “Fate” and “Vampire,” and everything in between, like the blissful “Shadow People.”

The full Dr. Dog experience was on display, featuring all the usual suspects—killer harmonized vocals, stunning guitar riffs, brilliant songwriting, some acoustic guitar, all sorts of shakers and a whole lot of passion oozing from the band. The set proved that while Dr. Dog have grown so large because they can play big, comfortable venues, that their music still rocks in any setting. The best part was that the time-traveling surrealism of the band playing this small venue never wore off, which they seemed to enjoy as well. And when Leaman’s bass-amp issues required a technical fix mid-set, he took the pause in action as a chance to look at his surroundings. “Nothing’s changed,” he said with a laugh. The room full of fans in front of him couldn’t have been happier to agree. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Dr. Dog, Predictably Excellent

September 21st, 2012

Dr. Dog – Rumsey Playfield – September 20, 2012


Dependability is an underrated virtue for a rock band, almost necessarily so. It’s easy to take for granted when a group consistently performs excellently. There are the notable exceptions—Bruce Springsteen, U2 and, increasingly so, the Flaming Lips—but for the most part, the bands that trot out day by day to entertain with predictable flair are seen as owing something, rather than appreciated for their reliability. Still, every night can feel special in its own way, and last night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, Dr. Dog, one of rock’s soon-to-be steady hands, played a strong set of favorites as well as providing some signature moments.

Dr. Dog is Philadelphia’s most notable indie-rock band, comprised of Toby Leaman (bass guitar and lead vocals), Scott McMicken (lead guitar and lead vocals), Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard) and Eric Slick (drums). Over the course of seven albums, most recently Be the Void, they have created and perfected a sound that borrows familiar classic-rock elements, such as the Beatles’ and Beach Boys’ harmonies and pop maximalism, in addition to adding their own unique touch. The vocal interplay between Leaman and McMicken is thrilling: Leaman growls and yells while McMicken exercises his falsetto. And with a growing catalog of favorites, the group is able to play extended crowd-pleasing shows.

On Thursday night, Dr. Dog began with Shame, Shame’s “Shadow People.” They played behind an altered American flag with neon colors and only three stars (the symbolism escaped me). Quickly, they settled into the pattern of slow opening verses leading to huge climactic choruses, with harmonized oohs and aahs. Some cute touches were added to “I Only Wear Blue” and “The Old Days” when an electronic effect such as a horse nay and hand claps were added. But the big and memorable moment came when Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez stumbled onto the stage during “Worst Trip.” With a shaker in hand, he jumped around and eventually made his way atop Leaman’s shoulders for the end of the song. And as the bassist, somewhat startled, explained, the two groups have been touring for a while. Another example of how, even after so long, the expected can produce the expected. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com

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Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit Play Central Park Tonight

September 20th, 2012

Dr. Dog, a pop-rock quintet based in Philadelphia, openly embrace lo-fi production and the upbeat, late-’60s sounds of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Two frontmen, bassist Toby Leaman and lead guitarist Scott McMicken, lead them—although the whole band harmonizes throughout their shows. The group formed in 1999 and has toured extensively over the years, earning wider acclaim opening for the Raconteurs, the Black Keys and My Morning Jacket. And although the lineup has changed over the years, Dr. Dog (above, playing “These Days” for WFUV) have still put out seven top-notch albums since 2001. Their most recent effort, the bluesy (and perhaps a little bit psychedelic) Be the Void came out this past February.

That Delta Spirit have also toured with My Morning Jacket is just one of the things they have in common with Dr. Dog. The main one, of course, is that while each band clearly focuses on doing the best recorded work they can, their live performances are equally as important. And so while Delta Spirit’s sound has boldly moved in a new direction with their self-titled album, leaving behind gritty roots rock in favor of the bigger, ethereal-sounding music that could fill arenas, they still cut loose onstage every night. Delta Spirit recently did a stripped-down take of “California,” below, and talked about  what they would do if they weren’t making music for The Bowery Presents Live. It’s the last Thursday of summer—and it’s gonna be a beautiful night—spend it outside at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park with Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit.

The Bowery Presents Live Features Delta Spirit

June 12th, 2012


Some bands develop a certain sound early on and rarely stray from it. But that’s not the case with Delta Spirit. The now-based-in-Brooklyn quintet has boldly moved in a new direction, leaving behind gritty roots rock in favor of the bigger, ethereal sounding music that fills arenas. While they once used lo-fi instruments like a trash-can lid to make Americana-tinged music, this year’s self-titled disc, filled with soaring guitars, is more polished, the result of using a broader palette that includes drum machines and samples. As today’s featured band on The Bowery Presents Live, they perform a stripped-down version of the album’s first single, “California.” Also, don’t miss the guys in the group talking about what they would do if they weren’t making music. And make sure you subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live for more videos like this and live-streamed shows, cool performances and intimate interviews.

(Delta Spirit—with Dr. Dog—plays Rumsey Playfield on 9/20.)

The Bowery Presents Live Features Hacienda

June 5th, 2012


Hacienda—three Villanueva brothers (Rene, on bass and vocals, Abraham, on piano and vocals, and Jaime, on drums and vocals) and one Schwebel cousin (Dante, on guitar and vocals)—caught an early break when Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys got a hold of their six-song demo. One thing led to another and eventually the band finished an album at his studio. Auerbach enjoyed working with them so much that he had them (along with My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan) back him on his Keep It Hid tour. As the four-piece has gained wider exposure, they’ve opened for the likes of the Black Keys, My Morning Jacket and Dr. Dog. And now Hacienda and Auerbach have again combined forces. He produced and cowrote their upcoming album, Shakedown. And as today’s featured band on The Bowery Presents Live, they perform one of the new disc’s tracks, “Savage,” in the kitchen at Terminal 5, and discuss nonstop touring and making music with Auerbach. For more videos like this and live-streamed shows, cool performances and intimate interviews, make sure you subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live.

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A Strong Album Leads to a Stronger Performance

March 26th, 2012

Dr. Dog – Terminal 5 – March 23, 2012


There are two types of bands, those that focus on recording and those that focus on live shows. It is the rare exception when both are an active priority, but Dr. Dog appears to strive for overall excellence. Last month the band released its sixth album, Be the Void. As is the case with previous discs, the consistent output contains kernels of pop brilliance: rock that extends the Beatles’ signature sound. The next step was to test the material on the road, and on Friday night, Dr. Dog stopped at Terminal 5 to work out new songs and revisit old ones in front of a sold-out crowd.

The set’s first two songs mirrored the new album’s first two, “Lonesome” and “That Old Black Hole.” Apropos of the band’s established formula, bassist Toby Leaman sang the first song while lead guitarist Scott McMicken sang the second. The trade off and interplay between vocalists is one of Dr. Dog’s more unique and compelling aspects. Leaman’s style is gruff and labored. He chugs through songs with physicality and maximum effort. Contrastingly, McMicken’s voice is brittle yet sweet. During a jubilant performance of “Shadow People,” the crowd pushed with its collective weight to hold up his relentless plea, “Where did all the shadow people go?”

The shadow people are unaccounted for, but the people who came on Friday night made themselves known. Many of those in attendance held on to secret (and not so secret) desires for favorite songs like a hopeful lottery-ticket holder. And the encore performance of “Heart It Races” looked to be a winner for many. But Dr. Dog possesses a deep catalog and most songs seemed to connect with the diverse audience. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Ahron R. Foster | ahronfoster.com

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Dr. Dog Delivers

February 21st, 2011

Dr. Dog – Terminal 5 – February 18, 2011

Dr. Dog - Terminal 5 - February 18, 2011
Playing before giant stained-glass panels, Dr. Dog put on a wild show on Friday night at Terminal 5, but not before an excellent opening set by the Head and the Heart, making their NYC debut. The new Seattle band has a sweet folk sound, balancing multiple vocals and sparse but effective piano and violin parts. With a sound akin to Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, the young quintet showed incredible promise, prompting many in the crowd to ask, “The Head and the Who?”

Headliners Dr. Dog put on a nearly flawless 90-minute performance. They began with jam-oriented tracks like “Only Wear Blue” and “The Ark,” a bluesy tune with the same vibe as the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” The audience started grooving along during “The Breeze,” and that energy carried the band into “The Old Days,” a double-time jamfest.

Halfway through, the group moved into the more pop-oriented part of the night, which included a haunting version of “Fate.” Dr. Dog never stopped moving even during the slowest songs, constantly reflecting the energy of the crowd. And they returned to an incredible buzz to play a taut encore that ended with “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” during which they were joined by the Head and the Heart for one more smile-filled jam session. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Dr. Dog on 2/18

February 15th, 2011

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Dr. Dog brings dual vocals combined with a heavy dose of guitars to Terminal 5 on Friday. And if you’d like to bring yourself to this show, try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. Just fill out the form below, including your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Dr. Dog, 2/18) and a brief message explaining why Dr. Dog’s particular brand of pop music tickles your fancy. Eddie Bruiser, who can appreciate a band with two singers, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Dr. Dog – The Beach at Governors Island – August 15, 2010

August 16th, 2010

Dr. Dog - The Beach at Governors Island - August 15, 2010

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg

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Have Yourself a Sandy Little Weekend

August 11th, 2010

The weekend is, thankfully, fast approaching, and the weather looks great. So why not spend two nights outside with your feet in the sand listening to cool music? Neon Indian is the brainchild of composer Alan Palomo. He had been writing and creating music as part of the band Ghosthustler and then as the artist VEGA prior to creating the dreamy lullabies and grinding guitar of Neon Indian. After Palomo missed a date to take acid with a friend—Alicia Scardetta, who now provides Neon Indian’s visuals—he sent her a musical apology called “Should Have Taken Acid with You.” When she responded positively to the tune, it spurred him on to create more. The results of which, Psychic Chasms, came out last year to much acclaim. But when Palomo plays live, he doesn’t go it alone, instead he’s joined onstage by drums, keys and guitar. See for yourself when Neon Indian (above, doing “Terminally Chill” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) plays The Beach at Governors Island on Saturday.

The Philly pop-rock quintet Dr. Dog (below, performing “Stranger” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) openly embraces lo-fi production and the upbeat, late-’60s sounds of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. They’re led by two frontmen, bassist Toby Leaman and lead guitarist Scott McMicken, but as you’ll see for yourself at The Beach at Governors Island on Sunday, the whole band harmonizes throughout their shows. The group formed in 1999 and has toured extensively over the years while still finding time to produce six albums, the most recent of which, Shame, Shame, came out earlier this year. And want to know the best part? Not only can you close out your weekend with a night of great music, but as part of the Gone to Governors series, this show is absolutely FREE.

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Dr. Dog Plays Largest Show

May 17th, 2010

Dr. Dog – Terminal 5 – May 15, 2010

Dr. Dog - Terminal 5 - May 15, 2010

There’s a certain quality common to most of the bands I’ve seen play Terminal 5. I can’t quite put it into words, but whatever it is that allows an act to fill a room of that size puts a big grin on the face of everyone inside. Nowhere was this more apparent than on Saturday night when Dr. Dog closed out a national tour in style. Operating for long stretches with an “everything I learned about rock and roll I learned from The White Album” attitude (with occasional acknowledgments of the existence of Blood on the Tracks and portions of the Beach Boys’ and the Band’s catalogs), Dr. Dog inverted a lot of the normal expectations.

Usually, a crowd is patient for the new stuff and goes extra nuts when a headliner dips into the back catalog. Instead, the T5 audience seemed to pine for each song off the newest, Shame, Shame. That material has forced the band to put an extra hole in their belt as their live sound has grown huskier and beefier in the middle with rough-edged, in-your-face double guitars at every turn. The third song, a raunchy version of “The Old Days,” brought on an early, ecstatic chant of “DOC-TOR DOG” from the bouncing fans. Announcing that the gig was the biggest they’d ever played, Dr. Dog used the whole of the Terminal 5 stage, showing off their version of a giddy, rocking-out Brownian motion.

After a building set-closing version of Shame, Shame’s title track, they seemed to just be getting started. And the four-song encore that followed featured a marriage proposal, a broken string on the replacement guitar for a previous broken string and—because Dr. Dog is the kind of band that realizes when a room has a giant disco ball, you might as well use it—a spiraling light show. It’s no wonder everyone was smiling. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com

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Dr. Dog and Deer Tick Close Their Tour Tomorrow Night at Terminal 5

May 14th, 2010

Dr. Dog, a pop-rock quintet based in Philadelphia, openly embraces lo-fi production and the upbeat, late-’60s sounds of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Two frontmen, bassist Toby Leaman and lead guitarist Scott McMicken, lead them—although the whole band harmonizes throughout their shows. The group formed in 1999 and has toured extensively over the years, earning wider acclaim opening for the Raconteurs, the Black Keys and My Morning Jacket. Although the lineup has changed over the years, Dr. Dog (above, playing “The Rabbit, the Bat and the Reindeer” on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson) still put out six albums since 2001. Their most recent effort, Shame Shame, came out last month. And they’ve been on the road with Deer Tick ever since. That tour ends tomorrow night at Terminal 5.

What began as a solo project for the ferociously talented John McCauley has blossomed into the five-man full-band sound of Deer Tick. Their third studio album, The Black Dirt Sessions, comes out next month but has already earned praise—plus their most notable fan is Brian Williams. And as terrific as the band’s recorded take on Americana music is, the best way to experience Deer Tick (below, playing “Easy” on KEXP) is to see them live. As singer-guitarist McCauley says, “Our live shows sometimes tend to go a bit haywire. We like to put on memorable shows, the kind of shows that you don’t see very often. If you don’t want to get covered in beer or confetti at one of our shows, I’d suggest not standing up in the front.” So do yourself a favor and make sure you go to Terminal 5 mañana.

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Dr. Dog – Brooklyn Bowl – December 11, 2009

December 14th, 2009

Dr. Dog - Brooklyn Bowl - December 11, 2009

Photos courtesy of Mina K