Words by Alejandro Valdivieso
Dr. Dog is amidst an 8-night NYC residency, including 4 shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and 4 shows at Bowery Ballroom. I learned from a co-worker right before the final MHOW show on Monday that Dr. Dog is attempting to play their entire catalog in the 8 nights they’re in New York. They’re that kind of band?!
They decorated the venue into a playful oasis, complete with palm trees, Christmas lights, and a large painting of a flamingo as their backdrop. The scenery fit the instant good vibes of the band. They hype up the crowd instantly with “That Old Black Hole”, and it’s clear that this is a sing-along event. Everyone knows the words to every song, myself included. By their 4th song, “Too Weak To Ramble,” I can hear the voices around me already weakening from belting classic lyrics.
The set starts to get a little slow in the middle, as they play tracks like “Today” and “The Beach” from their oldest albums. The cool jams help calm down the crowd, until they release a roaring, emotional trio of their hits. “Heart It Races”, their arguably most popular song, revitalizes the show and gets the everybody dancing.
They then follow up with “The Truth” and “Army of Ancients”, two songs where the band simply starts to scream, followed swiftly by the crowd Dr. Dog has a passion on stage that I see in few shows, which all comes out in their vocal delivery. You can tell in the increasing raspiness of Toby Leamen’s voice that this is starting to wear him down, but he doesn’t let it bother him. After he screeches the words to “Lonesome” to finish off the first set, he diverges into a crazed vocal freestyle as the band jams.
They encore with “How Long Must I Wait,” “Hang On’,” and “Oh No.” These three songs showcase Dr. Dog’s versatility perfectly. From slow folk ballads to straight-up rock n roll, they deliver a show that reminded me how much this band is worth an 8-night residency in the big apple.