Dr. Dog

House of Blues

December 12, 2006


Dr. Dog doesn't hide its influences or ambition. They're obviously trying to write classics with methods used by The Beatles, Beach Boys, and Crosy, Stills, Nash, and Young. Dr. Dog must realize there's a reason so many people still worship the Liverpudlians and California boys after all these years. And, maybe it's that, especially in the case of the Beach Boys, they weren't willing to dilute the purity of the song in their head with conventional song structure and method.

Dr. Dog plays sunny California pop that serves their earnesty. They're OK with letting a tambourine be the one constant in a song. Dr. Dog succeeded when they played the House of Blues Tuesday night because of their obvious passion and lust for life onstage. At first the indie crowd was skeptical, but I think they fell in when they realized the band meant it, that they were willing to scream until red in the face and jump around and act silly and enjoy themselves and not care who's looking.

Dr. Dog's sharp guitar notes and slide sound recalled George Harrison. Their harmonies made me think of the Beach Boys, while the drumming sounded like Ringo and their simplicity had me wistful for Daniel Johnston. Dr. Dog wasn't afraid to reach for the skies, specifically epic, dramatic, and reptitive guitar progressions that late era Elliott Smith learned from The Beatles.

The set standout was "Die, Die, Die," which mixed handclaps, slide guitar, tambourine, church organ and harmonies. Lyric: "I don't wanna die in your arms, I just wanna die."

Dr. Dog's music is as smart as The Thrills wish theirs could have been. May it live long.

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