Dr. Dog And Shakey Graves Deliver The Goods For Sold Out Two-Night Run In Austin (SHOW REVIEW)

In 2014, Dr. Dog bassist/co-lead singer, Toby Leaman told the sold out audience at Stubb’s in Austin, “It’s always been a dream of ours to sell out Stubb’s.” In what has become an annual tradition since then, Dr. Dog played two sold out performances on Friday and Saturday night and this time shared the spotlight with Austin’s own Shakey Graves. After releasing The Psychedelic Swamp (REVIEW) earlier this year, the boys from Philadelphia launched right back into another tour.

The first night brought a bit of surprise when it was revealed that Shakey Graves wasn’t the support act for the night, but would in fact be headlining. After Dr. Dog played a one-hour set, Alejandro Rose-Garcia took to the stage with just his guitar and drums. While Shakey Graves is now made up of a four-piece touring band, much of the performance for the night harkened back to his one-man-band days. The energy was high during songs like “The Perfect Parts” and “Dearly Departed” (where he picked out an audience member to fill in for singer Esme Patterson). However special it was to see a hometown hero playing to sold out audience, filling in the larger time slot meant a lot more one-man performances and much of his set felt dynamic. This was not the case the second night where the one-hour time slot meant a much more concise and energetic performance.

For Dr. Dog, on the other hand, filling in a set for two nights presents a different type of difficulty. Having been a band for fifteen years with an eight album catalogue, the toil surrounds which songs to play each night. Those fans that were able to attend both nights were treated to an array of songs spanning the band’s entire repertoire. In typical Dr. Dog fashion, the songs alternated between Leaman and Scott McMicken on vocal duties. While several favorites like “These Days”, “How Long Must I Wait?” and “Jackie Wants a Black Eye” were played both nights, many songs were only played on one or the other. Friday night included older tracks “Oh No” from 2005’s Easy Beat and “The Way The Lazy Do” from 2007’s We All Belong. Friday night also included some new arrangements of songs that weren’t present the following night like a more melancholy “That Old Black Hole” and a reverb ridden “Shame, Shame”.

Saturday night saw the only songs played from their last release B-Room, and “Broken Heart” and “Distant Light” found many in the audience singing and dancing along. The second night crowd also was treated to some deep cuts like “County Line” from their 2002 self-released album Toothbrush and “Fool’s Life” from Easy Beat. Interestingly, “Bring My Baby Back” was the only new song played both nights and the second night only got one additional track from The Psychedelic Swamp, “Fire On My Back”. Though many in the audience were carrying on their own conversations as is often the case with Austin crowds, they quickly feel silent when Dr. Dog launched into their cover of Architecture In Helsinki’s “Heart It Races”.

While the shorter time for Shakey Graves the second night lent itself self to a much better experience, Dr. Dog could have played twice as long each night and still left the audience clamoring for more. Hopefully next year will see another multi-night return to Stubb’s with headlining spots each night.

Cover photo by Merrick Ales. 

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