Dr. Dog, The Growlers @ The Waiting Room
Philadelphia is no stranger to good music. Having produced great artists, such as G. Love, The Roots, Man Man, and the Disco Biscuits gives you street credentials in my mind. With my musical tastes often morphing, I find myself falling in and out of a lot of different bands. Dr. Dog is an exception to that, as I can’t seem to get enough of them.
Having caught a brief portion of their set at the monsoon known as Wakarusa 2008, I was already interested in their music. But, it wasn’t until my good friend, Eggs, suggested I check out their latest album. Out of sure luck, I found myself at our local record store here in Lincoln, with the employees jamming out to Fate. As I lurched up to the counter, I was informed as to what album was playing. Minutes later, I was on my way home with some new music, and a newly found obsession with Dr. Dog. Luckily for me, I was able to catch them at the Waiting Room in Omaha, NE on February 8th.
Walking into the Waiting Room, the first thing I noticed was the renovations that had been done to the interior. I must say, the once dingy venue looked like a new place, including the removal of the infamous wall! Inching closer to the stage, The Growlers had nearly completed there set. Their sound was very unique, giving off definite hints of beach rock and psychedelia. Honestly, I felt as if their music belonged somewhere in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Hailing from Costa Mesa, CA, The Growler’s seemed to be an excellent opener for things to come, but the comatose and nearly prepubescent crowd was everything short of thankful to the group. The Growler’s continued to trudge through their set, even commenting on the “activity” of the crowd, which couldn’t even muster up the warm up sway. Regardless, the 5 or so songs I was able to catch were enjoyable, particularly once I made my way through the church crowd and got a better view. I was able to have a few words with drummer Brian Stewart after the show. After congratulating him on a great set, we both instantly agreed on the fact that the crowd was full of zombies. Come on Omaha, save the Midwest from a bad reputation!!!
I had been waiting for an opportunity to catch an entire Dr. Dog show for a long while. I found my self meandering my way to the front, in anticipation as the youngins all abandoned their spots up front. Feeling like a kid on the last day of school, the short set break allotted me enough time to get even more stoked, and get my camera ready for the evening. Dr. Dog would prove to me even more then I had ever imagined. “The Rabbit, The Bat and The Reindeer” kicked off the set, sending the crowd into a frenzy! Well, not really, but people seemed a little bit more enthusiastic for the headliner. They played a good representation of their entire catalog, including several tracks off of they upcoming album Shame, Shame due out on April 6th. The general sound of the new material seemed to take on a more fast paced, hard rock sound, with many of Dr. Dog’s signature guitar riffs and harmony vocals meshed in.
One thing that was surprising to me was the amount of improvisation they used on stage, particularly on guitar. Going into the evening, I was expecting a pretty cut and dry set, that could have played out just as they do on their studio work. What I got was a totally new perspective on the 5 piece act, showcasing each of their talents. I found myself at a loss for word, repeating the phrase ‘They are sooooo fucking good!’ over and over in my head, and also on paper, as that is scribbled throughout the majority of my notations. One of the things that sets Dr. Dog apart from other bands is their vocal ability. Bassist Toby Leaman and guitarist Scott McMicken take the lead vocals, rotating in and out. Back up and harmonies are taken care of everyone else in the band, which is pretty unique. The vocals were always on key and were about the only thing that was replicated on their albums. By now, the crowd had become slightly involved, although a large majority looked as if the cement below them had finally dried. The set came to a quick close, with a two song encore to follow, including the song “Die, Die, Die” off of the wonderful Takers and Leavers EP.
The evening was probably the most interesting Monday evening I had in a long time, as well as a great start to the weak for several reasons which I will now list;
– The Saints won the Super Bowl!
– Pete Townshend didn’t smash his guitar, winning me a bet. Yay money!
– I had the day off of work.
– I was able to see the newly remodeled Waiting Room. Good job guys, and look forward to more drunken nights there.
– The Growlers are definitely an act I’d like to see down the road, perhaps with a more rambunctious crowd.
– Dr. Dog is soooooo fucking good! Their stage show is better than ever expected.
– I will now patiently await Shame, Shame
Chuckin up the duece,