|Toby Leaman (left) and Scott McMicken|
Guitarist Scott McMicken and bassist Toby Leaman began writing songs and playing music together in the eighth grade in West Grove, Pennsylvania. After trying out a few band lineups, Dr. Dog began gaining a following in the Philadelphia club circuit. Over the course of eight albums since 2001, the band grew popular enough to headline New York's cavernous Terminal 5 last year. This year, rather than play the bigger venues, Dr. Dog headlined eight nights in two smaller New York venues, with four nights at the Music Hall of Williamsburg followed by four nights at the Bowery Ballroom, never playing the same set twice. On January 13, the one night off between that pair of gigs, the band's first live album, Live at a Flamingo Hotel, was released. Dr. Dog presently consists of McMicken, Leaman, guitarist Frank McElroy, keyboardist Zach Miller, drummer Eric Slick and multi-instrumentalist Dimitri Manos.
At the second night in the Bowery Ballroom tonight, the two principal members took turns as usual leading songs, with all members contributing harmonies. On this particular night, the set list featured only a few songs that appear on the live album, but included songs that dated as far back as 2005's Easy Beat album ("Easy Beat" and "Today"). To label the band as indie would be a misnomer, as much of the sound dated back to scrappy 1970s-style folk rock akin to the Band or Little Feat. At times Dr. Dog was a garage pop band with catchy hooks, at other times a psychedelic jam band, and at other times a groove-laden funk band. The unifying factor was the dynamic joviality and good-time spirit in which the bouncy music was presented. It is good that Dr. Dog has released a live album; their barnstorming concert experience is worth preserving.
Visit Dr. Dog at www.drdogmusic.com.