Monday, April 20, 2009

"Well, I don't need no doctor /To tear me all apart/I just need you /To mend my heart..."

Originally Dr. Dog: was only going to play on Friday, April 10th, but due to it being sold out rather quickly they added another date on Thursday the 9th. I was pretty excited because I didn’t move fast enough for the 10th. I knew I really wanted to see them live since their album, Fate, was one of my surprise favorites of 2008 (my #4 pick).

On Thursday I hurried myself to get to the Double Door in time for the opening act, The Cave Singers: I arrived at the venue towards the end of the opening-opening act, Golden Boots: From what I could tell they were pretty good, and were a good fit with the other two bands.

I was really looking forward to seeing The Cave Singers. They are Seattle band and came from the disbanding of other Seattle groups like Pretty Girls Make Graves, Hint Hint, and Cobra High. They play their AMAZING single “Dancing On Our Graves” on KEXP pretty frequently.

The rest of their set was just as energetic and lively. They were fun to watch and had some funny banter with us. Like letting us know that Olive Garden is a great value for your money and to be sure to try the breadsticks. I was pretty happy with their performance even though I didn’t know the other songs they played as well.

Before Fate the only thing I knew about Dr. Dog was that they were Philly based and kinda jam bandy. I also was familiar with their animated video for their song “My Old Ways.” Like I mentioned in my Best of 2008 entry for them I was completely caught off guard when I found myself liking their song “The Old Days” and then falling in love with their latest album. I didn’t know what to expect from their live show, and figured it would be good but nothing too crazy. I was completely surprised again by them. They put on one of the best live shows I have seen in a while. They were energetic and were genuinely having a good time on stage. You could tell they liked each other and the music they were playing. The result of that is the audience gets into it as well, and just makes it an overall wonderful experience.

They played a lot off of Fate: “The Breeze,” “Army of Ancients, “The Rabbit, The Bear, & The Reindeer,” “From,” “100 Years,” “The Beach,” and “My Friend.” They also played “The Old Days” but they did it in a super fast way that was not as good as the original way they play it, in my opinion. Other songs off the album they did were “The Ark”:

and “Hang On”:

They also played songs from earlier albums, but I was not as familiar with them to know the titles. However, especially after this show I want to further explore this band’s music.

One thing about Dr. Dog that I was unaware of is that there are two singers in the band: Scott McMicken (piano and guitar) and Toby Leaman (bassist). I mean you can tell there is a difference vocally when you listen to certain songs, but for some reason I just didn’t think that two guys would be sharing the singer duties so well.

I absolutely loved Dr. Dog’s live show. I had such a fun time dancing and singing along. I highly recommend seeing them, and I look forward to seeing them again. In fact, I was a bit bummed I didn’t have a ticket to go and see them again on the 10th. Maybe with their summer tour and if they decide to do a summer festival, perhaps our paths will cross again soon?


P.S. One of my favorite gems: Dr. Dog’s NPR's Tiny Desk Concert:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Let's grow old together and die at the same time..."

One of my favorite albums of 2008 came from Friendly Fires (FF), and so when I saw they were playing the Double Door I got super excited. Then I realized that they were the opening act for a band called White Lies (WL) I like a few WL songs, and even though FF wasn’t the headliner I decided to go anyway. And so I trekked myself on down to the Double Door on April 3rd to see one band I couldn’t wait to watch (and dance to) and one that I hope would get me excited about them live.

My friends Brie and Heidi had already seen the show when all three acts came to DC and played the Black Cat. Their review was positive in general, and they told me that FF was amazing, however, that WL wasn’t very good. In fact they left early. So I was hoping that overall the show would be good.

The opening-opening act was California band The Soft Pack: They were okay. Catchy, short, fast songs played with this punk-musician flair, especially by the drummer. They seemed fine enough, but I was just waiting for FF to take the stage so anyone playing before them probably would have received a similar review from me. But they are making a bit of a splash on KEXP currently.

I was really excited when FF took the stage. Also by this time some of my friends had showed up so I joined them at a spot that had a better view. When they started playing all was going well and the dance party was beginning. Then Ed Macfarlane opened his mouth and started singing. Wah wah. It sounded muffled and sometimes strained. Even though they played their entire album, I think…maybe one or two songs were missing, I was kinda bummed they were not as stellar live as I was expecting. I think some of it may have been due to the poor sound quality of the venue (at least that is what my friends told me) or it may be that they are not as great live. However, this did not deter me from trying to make it a good experience and I sang and danced along. Plus they looked like they were having a fun time on stage and that is always helpful and contagious. I do want to see them live again to be sure though.

The start of the show and “Lovesick”

I love how Ed takes the mic and taps it on his head and then awkwardly thrust his pelvis at us.

When WL came on my expectations were low. I mean Brie and Heidi left the show during their set and they NEVER do that. So they must not be that great live, right? WRONG!!! It was like the reverse of the show my DC gal pals had. They were amazing! They started off the set with their two strongest songs, “To Lose My Life” and “Unfinished Business.” It just got better from there when they played “Farewell to the Fairground” and “Death.” I was really surprised about them. Their sound quality was great, which again made me think maybe FF just sounds off live. I mean I was in the same spot for both acts. I like the sound of WL, but to me they were like a hotter, British version of the Bravery. Remember them? Yeah. I just hope WL will have a little bit longer career. Not gonna lie these guys were great looking. I was completely enamored by the bassist, Charles. Rowrr…

“Unfinished Business” on Later...With Jools Holland

So I went to the show thinking that FF was gonna know my socks off and it turned out WL were truly the headlining act.


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