March 1st, 2014

The Warfield was packed and pumping with energy this past Saturday night as Philadelphia natives Dr. Dog put on a truly dynamic performance. Known for their natural tones, catchy rhythm, and upbeat melodies, this band always delivers. They got the crowd surging with energy through quick chord progressions and rock-n-roll style intros. The passionate blues-influenced guitar riffs struck the whole body, making it swell with bass. Their music draws inspiration from both classic and modern influences, most noticeably The Beatles and The Shins.

Doors opened at 8 p.m., and by 8:30 p.m. the lobbies were full of eager fans investigating the bars and merch tables. Openers Moses Sumney and Saint Rich warmed up the crowd. Songs like Saint Rich’s hit “Officer,” were especially popular. Dr. Dog attracted both hipsters and hippies alike.

By 10:30 p.m. the theatre was buzzing with anticipation as the house lights dimmed. Light flickered off the backdrop of flashy blue streamers. As the band took the stage, a small marquee that read “Dr.__Dog  Live From The Tenderloin!” lit up the darkness. They opened with their hit song “That Old Black Hole” and the crowd cheered and moved excitedly to the beat. The show really took off as the band entered into a highly-charged rendition of “These Days,” from their sixth album Be The Void. Despite the release of their new album B-Room, Dr. Dog performed a variety of songs from their previous albums. Their setlist was diverse as well as exhilarating, with the end of one song flowing seamlessly into the start of another.

Towards the end of the set, the crowd could barely contain themselves. Even the most timid were jumping up and down to the beat of a fan favorite, “Heart It Races,” an Architecture in Helsinki cover. Up in the balcony, fans were running through the aisles, much to security’s dismay. Toby Leaman, one of two front men, jumped up on the monitors in the middle of the song “Lonesome,” and continued to hop from one speaker to another while singing. The Warfield itself was practically bouncing down Market Street.

The positive energy did not die down once the band left the stage. The encore gained momentum and held a collection of surprises for fans. Dr. Dog guitarist Frank McElroy opened a long instrumental break with a groovy guitar solo. The guitarist from Saint Rich joined in, and the two sent waves of melodious guitar riffs crashing over fans as they danced underneath a psychedelic light display. The music and vintage feel of The Warfield was refreshing, and seemed to transport the crowd to a different time period. As a treat to long-time listeners, the band ended the night with an epic performance of “Oh No,” off of their 2005 album Easy Beat.

After 20 songs, Dr. Dog’s vivacious stage presence was just as effortless and contagious as it had been 90 minutes before. The theatre was ablaze with the positive vibes that radiated throughout the crowd, even as the night came to a close. Dr. Dog proved to San Francisco that they are a band that values creative sound and experience over stereotypes and labels. Both The Warfield and I are going to need time to rest after such an exuberant performance.

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