by Eli Stein
The members of Dr. Dog waltzed onto the Town Ballroom stage all in varying levels of “disheveled-ness,” each with their own unique style. But one thing was uniform across the board. Saddle shoes. They all wore those dapper looking black and white saddle shoes. Now I only mention this bizarre detail because their dress informed their music perfectly. Each member brings their unique somewhat off-kilter sound, together hanging on the precipice of a complete cacophonous collapse. Yet they remain grounded in a fantastic one-ness. It’s gotta be the shoes. (Or perhaps Eric Slick’s stellar drumming?) All that is to say, there aren’t many bands that play this tight, while keeping it so wild and loose at all times. They didn’t even miss a beat when, upon hearing some people in the front row beat him to the opening lines of “Shadow People”, guitarist Scott McMicken handed the mic into the crowd to let them sing the first verse.
Dr. Dog brings a raucous energy to everything they do, even their down-tempo songs are rife with energy. Throughout the night it spread like an airborne virus into the crowd. The nodding-head foot-tapping audience became a rabid mass of dancing fools by nights end. The show didn’t ride any highs or lows and didn’t depend on any showstoppers to bring the set to a head or take it to the next level. They started high, ended high, and kept it up in between. The best song they played was the last one they played before you quickly forgot what it was because they were kicking your ass with the next one. Most of the tunes just flowed right into each other, there was no time to catch your breath and appreciate what was happening. Everything was in the moment.
Dr. Dog is touring behind their just released live album Live at a Flamingo Hotel. And it is great. Yet, if a band does it right, no recording, not even a live one, can completely capture their live experience. And as Dr. Dog proved once again in Buffalo, they are an incredible live band.