Dr. Dog Keep Their Rock Eclectic and Catchy for Sold Out Portland, OR Crowd (SHOW REVIEW)

Dr Dog performed to a sold-out crowd at Portland, Oregon’s Roseland Theater on Sunday, February 17th. Hailing from Philadelphia, the band is known for having a hard to categorize eclectic folk rock sound with a decidedly playful attitude. Would you call them Folk-Pop? Glam Rock? Dream Folk? In any case, they find themselves balancing something between retro and modern and they make smart, beautiful, and thought-provoking music.

Before Dr. Dog took the stage, we got to see Michael Nau. Michael Nau, formerly of Cotton Jones, and his band played some mellow but pretty music for us that made for a nice start to the evening, even with the lighting person blasting the crowd between each song. Luckily that trend did not continue into the next set. 

This evening Dr Dog played twenty-three songs spanning over nine albums including a five song encore. They were clearly determined to treat their fans to a fantastic concert experience. Evidenced by kicking off the night with a screaming rendition of “Abandoned Mansion” from their 2017 LP with the same name. Toby Leaman, on bass and vocals, was sensational in showing off some powerful vocals on a song, which on record is beautiful and calm, but in the live setting was lifted to a new level by the whole band. From there they went straight into a personal favorite, “The Breeze”, from their quintessential 2008 album Fate. Now it was other founding member Scott McMicken’s turn to wow the crowd on guitar and vocals.

Other highlights from the night included “That Old Black Hole,” “Buzzing In The Light,” “Be The Void,” and their well-known Architecture in Helsinki cover “Heart It Races” to end the show. As a band they meld beautifully. Sometimes you see a band and you can tell they’ve been playing music together for a long time and they actually enjoy it. On this night at the Roseland, their timing was impeccable, and they really looked like they were having the best time even after the members have been together for twenty years, and they sounded incredible doing it all. Possibly a contender for MVP of the show, Erick Slick showed one example after another of why he might be one of the most impressive (and underrated) drummers in the rock world today. His beats are unique and throughout the show in Portland he showed a spatial awareness that was clearly a driving force for the band as he often kicked off songs with complex drum introductions. He kicked off nearly every song and often played unusual beats that did not reveal what was about to be played, teasing the audience in a unique way.

Over the course of nearly two hours, Dr. Dog kept the energy high in the room in front of a crowd that seemed split between young fans (it was an all ages show after all) and older die-hards. This demographic served as a testament to both their ability to entertain as well as the timelessness of their endlessly infectious song catalog.

Dr. Dog Setlist Roseland Theater, Portland, OR, USA, Winter Tour 2020

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