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Dr. Dog @ The Fillmore with Speedy Ortiz.

April 18, 2016

drdog20_10MBText by Jared Levy. Images by Kelly Smith.

Dr. Dog returned to the The Fillmore for the second time in about four weeks, this time sharing the stage with Speedy Ortiz, which is sort of a Philadelphia band now.

Speedy Ortiz opened with songs from their full length albums, Major Arcana and Foil Deer. Both feature clever lyrics from songwriter Sadie Dupuis, a recent transplant to Philly.

“You guys have good bagels,” Dupuis told the crowd and then corrected herself, adding, “We have good bagels.”

After Speedy Ortiz’s set, Dr. Dog walked out to electronic music, stylized from the 80s. The backdrop was black with grey squares. It was a dated, sci-fi aesthetic.

They started with a fan favorite “The Beach” from their fifth album, Fate. Bassist and vocalist Toby Leaman snarled into his microphone. As usual, he wore a beanie while guitarist and vocalist Scott McMicken and guitarist Frank McElroy wore dark sunglasses. Leaman grabbed his microphone off the stand, swung his bass around his back, and leaned into the crowd. The band followed with another familiar tune, “That Old Black Hole” from Be the Void.

A man in the crowd lifted the sides of his Dr. Dog beanie to look like a sailor’s cap and danced with abandon, as many others did.

The third song was “Distant Light.” Later they played a new one, “Bring My Baby Back,” from their latest album, The Psychedelic Swamp, a recovered side-project. These songs seamlessly blended into older ones like, “Phenomenon” and “Shadow People,” where McMicken played guitar with windmill strums like Pete Townshend. He and McElroy traded licks. They played “The Way the Lazy Do,” highlighting that a pleasure of seeing Dr. Dog live is hearing their expert harmonies.

For the encore, Leaman asked for requests from the audience. He got “Say Something” while McMicken got “Nelly.” There was barely a pause from the request to the song. It was impressive to see a band prepared to play anything from their catalogue. They did it easily. It’s a wonder whether they do this for every crowd.

They gave a lot to this performance. As they sang about Philadelphia, in songs like “Alaska,” it felt that much closer to the audience’s experience. There was an audible enthusiasm for these native sons. They played brilliantly at The Fillmore as they usually do when they come home.

One Comment
  1. April 19, 2016 2:06 pm

    Yoo I’ll be at the Foundry 4/20 seeing my main man Coleman Hell (:

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