By: Derek Jung
[Disclaimer - Derek does the weekly email newsletter for Madison Theater]
Dr. Dog is one of those bands that pops up occasionally on my Pandora and Spotify radio stations, but I've never really dug into their discography as much as I probably should have. The Pennsylvania natives have, like many other bands in the indie jam rock genre, a fervently loyal and passionate following, yet for those who are uninitiated, they may have never heard of them. Dr. Dog has made a few runs through Madison Theater since I started my involvement there, but I had never attended their show; so when I saw that they were coming back, I told myself I wouldn't miss them again.
I'd estimate about 900 people filled up Madison Theater, and most were quite early for opener The Districts, who have been receiving some hype lately too. I really enjoyed their heavier sounding rock sound paired with the lighter, head-bobbing vibe of Dr. Dog. I'd recommend everyone check out their new album A Flourish and a Spoil. My only knock against their set was that I was straining to hear the vocals the entire time. Unlike Dr. Dog, who take advantage of multiple harmonies to fill their sound, The Districts really only have the lead singer. But isn't the stereotype that you really can't expect great sound from an opening band? (eyeroll)
Dr. Dog was pretty great. I wasn't aware that their new album The Psychedelic Swamp was actually a redo of material that they recorded back in 2001. When it comes to artists evolving their sound over the years, if this was truly a redo of 15 year old material, they either updated it significantly or it was just good material to begin with. "Bring My Baby Back" is a hell of a single, and it was super memorable live, with the crowd singing along. Speaking of, the crowd was super laid back and relaxed throughout the entire show. Only a few head-bobbers here and there, I think I was one of the biggest in our area. Yes, a lot of them were stoned, and the aroma of the green stuff was noticeable from the moment the house lights went down, but if I didn't know better I would have thought they were bored. They weren't, of course, and I have to give credit to the band for keeping the energy level high for the entire set. I enjoyed bassist Toby Leaman's little shuffle move that he did during the heavier grooves. He and guitarist Scott McMiken share lead vocal duties. I found Toby's vocals much more appealing than Scott's, but together their harmonies fit well with their sound.
Overall, they were a fun, entertaining act. No frills, no gimmick, just 90 minutes of music. And that's the way that it should be.
Check out a live performance of "Bring My Baby Back" on the World Cafe below:
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: