BY PELLE GUNTHER With a sold out show at the Electric Factory, Philly’s own Dr. Dog were certainly at their finest, with a few members of the band flaunting shades and red and white-pom-pommed “Dr. Dog” hats, inescapably evoking a Where’s Waldo vibe . Their stage set was made up of bizarre stained glass windows which were left un-illuminated during the openers, but for the Dr.’s entrance, the stage crew flipped the light-switch, suddenly transforming the stage into a mass of stained glass, popping from every amp and free space on the stage, including the head of the kick drum. It was a truly magical atmosphere for Philly’s 21st century Beatles.
They started off the night with “I Only Wear Blue” from the album Shame Shame which I found to be a mildly disappointing number to start with; however this was quickly rectified by their second song, “Hang On” from Fate. Dr. Dog always seems to be a band on a pedestal, not much for crowd banter, but bringing all they need to bring through their musical talent, timing and unbelievable harmonies. Other times I’ve seen them, they played their set, thanked us, and left…like musicians on a mission. This time that mission had changed; they seemed to be looking for every opportunity to make the show more enjoyable and more entertaining, which, as an audience member, was quite nice. Not that they did much more talking, but they had souped up their old songs with electronic samples tossed in at intervals to spruce up the older songs.
This is probably the only opportunity I’ll have to call Dr. Dog cute, so I might as well take it. Mid-set, in honor of his mother’s birthday, Leaman called out for his father to join him on stage to sing his mother’s favorite song “Alaska”, which was, simply put, cute. Right after this, during their cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races” the band brought out an incredible interpretive dancer, who, despite how phenomenally talented she was, seemed ever so slightly out of place next to the rock dancing and antics of Toby Leaman and guitarist Scott McMicken. Dr. Dog returned for their encore, ending the night with “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” while accompanied by Jackie and what appeared to be all of the band’s friends and community members. With their perfect harmonies, and unbelievable talent as musicians, this band is one to savor at any chance you have.