By UPMA KAPOOR
Beards, flannel and hard-hitting guitar trios in front of an American flag with three stars barely characterizes Dr. Dog’s performance at the University of Mary Washington in the Great Hall on Saturday, Nov. 3.
After dropping their latest album, “Be the Void” in February, the indie rock band launched a fall tour, including two sold-out shows at the well-received 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. After receiving suggestions from students across campus, Lonnie Southall, president of Giant Productions, decided to feature “a huge band in the indie scene” for the campus.
Inviting Dr. Dog is a huge milestone for Giant Productions. Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Dog is the brainchild of bassist Toby Leaman and guitarist Scott McMicken.
While the band had a local fan following for years following “Psychedelic Swamp,” their first release in 2001, they gained major acclaim after working on their 2008 album, “Fate,” with legendary producer Rob Schnapf, who has produced albums for Beck and Elliott Smith.
Elissa Fuhrken, junior and English major, believed advertisement for the event was underwhelming.
“I didn’t even know they were here. I love Dr. Dog,” Fuhrken said.
Limited publicity did not deter concert attendance. The audience size seemed rather average in comparison to previous shows held in the Great Hall. Students may not have been familiar with the band, which may explain the initial quiet when the band crossed the stage, to which guitarist Scott McMicken jokingly announced, “Dr. Dog’s on stage now,” and proceeded to play their first song, “The Way the Lazy Do.”
The band members’ chemistry with one another was insanely awesome and resonated incredibly well throughout the show. While the audience, with folded arms and confused expressions, did not know how to respond in the beginning, everyone slowly eased up and responded, pulsing with as much energy as the band itself.
Dr. Dog’s sound, reminiscent of 1960s rock featuring euphoric harmonies and catchy choruses, is incredibly inviting. Students found themselves dancing throughout the show.
One of the most memorable and impressive aspects of the show may have been Dr. Dog’s cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races.” Live, the cover is psychedelic and still danceable, preserving the infectious endurance of its predecessor.
The accompanying lights added to the experimental feel of the entire show. This may have been the first time I have ever seen them used effectively at a live show at UMW. They were bright and faded out at the most moving moments, especially during heart-rending guitar solos or the occasional chill-inducing harmony.
Dr. Dog may have been one of the finest live acts to perform at UMW in the past three years.
Perhaps if the advertising had been better or student apathy was not at its pinnacle, more students would have had the opportunity to witness some classic indie greatness.