Energy and jubilance from Dr. Dog

By DAVID A. MANN

LOUISVILLE — Alternative rockers Dr. Dog ignited a packed house at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville Friday night, offering crowd pleasing favorites that sparked shoulder-swaying singalongs one after another.

The Pennsylvania band was workmanlike in their approach, rarely pausing between songs for stage banter and instead treating audiences to a high-energy performance.

They relied heavily on tracks from their latest record, “Be the Void,” which turned out to be a great choice. When I reviewed the album just after its release, about a month ago, I was lukewarm to the new set of tunes. Friday’s show swayed me.

“Lonesome,” the album’s opening track, was a wonderful commotion. Performed live it felt huge and jubilant. The same can be said for “That Old Black Hole” and “Heavy Light” – both were tracks that feel somewhat hollow on my stereo speakers but brilliant and funky in person.

Performances of their older songs – and I’m using that term very, very loosely – were sensational as well. I’d never been concerned with the fate of the “Shadow People” before but the band’s vigorous and dramatic performance of their track by that name had me wanting to set up a search party.

There was never really a point where they dialed it back. They were buoyant and jumpy as guitarist Scott McMicken and bassist Toby Leaman traded off lead vocal duties between songs.

Even “The Breeze,” – generally speaking, one of their more subdued, reflective numbers – was peppy as all hell. And I don’t mean that as a gripe.

While it was very different, the sped up, live version gave me a new appreciate for the track, which has long been a favorite of mine.

The lone complaint I’ll offer was the sound mix. While I appreciate volume, they’re also great lyricists. It was a shame that some of the vocals were washed out.

Dr. Dog will be back in Louisville for Forecastle in July, which I think is going to be perfect because they’ve got a definite summertime festival vibe. If you’re planning on attending the big festival, they’re not to be skipped.

All photos by C. Michael Stewart.

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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