Dr. Dog | 10.11.09 | Boulder

Words & Images by: Joe Schicke

Dr. Dog :: 10.11.09 :: Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO

Dr. Dog :: 10.11 :: Boulder, CO
Inside Boulder's Fox Theatre, Jeffrey Lewis and his rhythm section, the Junkyard, took the stage around 9:30. Opening for Philadelphia's Dr. Dog, Lewis' bare bones acoustic punk fit well with the general mood, bringing fans to the floor and warmth to the room. An entertaining singer-songwriter based out of New York, Lewis supplemented his witty lyrics with an animated slide show that he would narrate or sing along to. A great freestyle rap about the outdoors of Maine with the chorus, "I'm a mosquito mass murderist," got the crowd's attention, and after a lame rendition of Dr. Dog's "The Rabbit, The Bat, and the Reindeer," Taylor saved face by introducing his final song (which he called "movies") titled "Creeping Brain." A hilarious story about a humanized brain who decides to eat a town and then holds a press conference announcing its plan for world domination, it was a genuine punk rock nugget.

By the time Dr. Dog took the stage, the Fox had filled up considerably. The band launched right into the opening trio of "Worst Trip," "The Way the Lazy Do," and "Army of Ancients." Composed of psychedelic, fairy-tale imagery and well-seasoned heartache, "Army of Ancients" is one of the best tunes from the band's newest studio release, Fate (2008), and on this night included some of bassist/vocalist Toby Leaman's most torturous wails, especially with the line, "I don't need no doctor to tear me all apart!"

Dr. Dog took little time between songs and established a steady rhythm through the night, showcasing songs from several albums, including Easy Beat (2005), Takers and Leavers (2006), We All Belong (2007), and the aforementioned Fate. In concert, this group plays short, concise songs that pack a huge punch, but they're also not afraid to extend sections when appropriate. Leaman's reggae tinged bass playing adds a welcome drive and pulse to the music, and the band's Beach Boys style vocal harmonies bring color and depth to the songs. Well written compositions are embellished by brightly harmonic instrumentation, and guitarist Frank McElroy plays snake-y guitar lines reminiscent of George Harrison, but with an infectious energy more akin to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore or Pavement's Stephen Malkmus.

Above all, Dr. Dog appears to have fun onstage, evident in Leaman's unassuming stage banter and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Scott McMicken's alternating one leg hops. After a two song solo mini-set from McMicken, the band really caught stride and ripped through more material from Fate before taking a short break. The encore was a blissful fifteen minutes of experimental soundscapes, indie rock meltdowns, and punk rock rudeness.

Dr. Dog :: 10.11.09 :: Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO
Worst Trip, The Way the Lazy Do, Army of Ancients, The Breeze, Hang On, Ain't It Strange, Die Die Die, Oh No, We're All In This Together, County Line, My Friend, 100 Years, Old Days, The Ark, From, The Beach, The Rabbit The Bat and the Reindeer
E: Fools Life, Call Your Bluff, Fuck It

Dr. Dog is on tour now; dates available here.

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[Published on: 10/22/09]

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