North Texas Daily

Concert Review: Dr. Dog throws Dallas a bone

Concert Review: Dr. Dog throws Dallas a bone

Concert Review: Dr. Dog throws Dallas a bone
February 23
20:54 2014

Preston Barta // Film Critic

It was three years ago when Dr. Dog headlined 35 Denton, formerly known as NX35 and 35 Conferette. Since then, the Philly rockers have put out two albums – 2012’s “Be the Void” and last year’s “B-Room” – and continue to refine the indie music genre.

Last night, the retro rock group paid Texas another visit settling in Dallas’ House of Blues. Embracing its warm soul appeal and whiskey-stained groovin’ style, the band’s 80-minute set and 20-minute encore was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Before the educated pups took the stage, the show kicked off with a vigorous opening act from Saint Rich, a New Jersey quintet that echoes sounds of The Strokes and The Rolling Stones. While a good portion of the crowd were unfamiliar with the group, the energy the band brought to the performance was worthy of leaving the venue to look up and jam its solid debut album, “Beyond the Drone” (2013), available on Spotify.

When Dr. Dog eventually came out, the group gave the audience a performance worthy of its time and money. The six-piece band started with a few newbies, such as “That Old Black Hole” and “These Days,” which hooked the crowd right out of the gate with their funky guitar rhythms and crackling coyote-like voices.

The band also provided a few high-energy offerings, including tracks off its 2010 album, “Shame, Shame,” arguably the group’s finest moment. The audience really came out of their shell for crowd favorites “Shadow People,” “Jackie Wants a Black Eye” and “The Truth.”

But possibly the most prominent facet of the band’s execution was the improvisation and deviation from its recorded album sound, thus proven during the older track “Say Ahhh,” which lasted a few good minutes longer than usual. These long tangents captivated the audience, especially during “Lonesome,” the band’s set-closing tune when frontman Toby Leaman put down his bass to jump into the crowd and demonstrate his moves like Jagger.

At the end of the show, after the group’s hypnotic three-song encore, Leaman and his singing-partner in crime, Scott McMicken, thanked Dallas for being a loving and spirited audience. But based on the band’s performance that carried a thunderous applause long after the show’s last breath, the pleasure was all Dallas’.

Dr. Dog is playing across the nation until June and July, where the group contrives to appear at festivals such as Bonnaroo. But you can catch the band next at the nearest venue in Tulsa, OK, on Thurs., Jun. 5 at Cain’s Ballroom.

The Takeaways:

  • You could walk away with a free T-shirt, which were tossed into the crowd during Saint Rich’s set.
  • Dr. Dog rocked its unseasoned ski caps, causing you to pay a visit to its merchandise stand.
  • This may have been the most diverse range of ages. The expected college crowd was there, but there were also couple people in their 60s and 70s, and all the ages in between.

Key tracks:

  • “Young Vultures” and “Dreams” by Saint Rich
  • “Where’d All the Time Go?” and “Unbearable Why” by Dr. Dog

Feature Photo: Singer-guitarist Scott McMicken and drummer Eric Slick play “That Old Black Hole.” Photo by Preston Barta / Film Critic.
Center Photo: Left, Frank McElroy (guitar), Toby Leaman (bass), Zach Miller (keyboard), Scott McMicken (lead guitar) and Eric Slick (drums) of Dr. Dog. Photo by Preston Barta / Film Critic.

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