Monday, January 30, 2006

Dr. Dog and The Teeth at The Mercury Lounge


Dr. Dog doing the damn thing

I had the good fortune of attending the Dr. Dog show Friday night at the Mercury Lounge in NYC with MC. It was a showcase for Philly rock music, as they shared a bill with fellow 215-ers The Teeth and Illinoise. It was a wonderful night of music, proving that the city is a home for all sorts of wonderful music. Lots of Philly residents and expats seemed to be in the house, which warmed my homesick heart. For real, Philly runs this shit, get on board or stay out the way.

We got there around 9:30 and caught the last few songs of the Illinoise set. I liked what I heard, nothing spectacular, just good straight ahead rock 'n' roll. The bassist had the line of the night, coming after a failed attempt to get the crowd to clap along, when he said "Oh I forgot, you're so fucking cool in New York." So true, son.

After that, The Teeth came on and killed. They have a similar sound and make-up to Dr. Dog, sans the piano player. It's lots of guitars, up-front bass and solid drumming. Vocals are shared, and usually augmented with the harmonies that set these bands apart for me. One of the lead singers, who is also the bassist, makes the craziest face I have ever seen when singing, a look of anger that seems more fitting for a punk show in the late 70s. No big deal, as you get used to the look and it sorta endears you to the guys. This ain't no pretty boy/ex-model shit, if ya know what I mean.

Sam Champion were up next, bringing some NYC to the Philly bill. They were alright, just didn't resonate with me that night. A little too slow and sludgy, nothing much vocally and a guitarist with too tight jeans distracting me. MC referenced the Stone Roses, a nice call. Worth a future listen, perhaps on a different bill.

Finally, Dr. Dog came on around midnight to a packed house and did the damn thing. I mean, for really real, these guys are one of the great live acts out there. The quintet came out smoking from the get-go, and never really let up for the next hour or so. I feel like these guys no longer have any buzz, as the band of the month crowd has moved on. That's a real shame, as they put on an amazing live show, write great original songs and are skilled musicians.

There really is nothing quite like a sold-out rock show in a small club, that electricity that doesn't seem to happen with any other genre. This live excitement, the harmonies, the driving rock songs and the high energy reminded me of one band, a band who holds a special place in my heart. The good ol' Grateful Dead. While you pick yourself up off of the floor at the thought of Pound for Pound being a Deadhead, let me inform you that this will be the musical focus for the next week. I will be posting up some live offerings from the 10 CD boxed set chronicling their legendary run at the Fillmore West in early 1969.

Here are a few more pictures from the evening, all taken by the one-and-only MC. She is a wonderful photographer, and I vow to you to do a better job posting up her pictures from the events that I drag her to.


Lead guitarist and vocalist Scott McMicken dressed to impress


The future's so bright, you gotta wear pink shades


Drummer Justin Stens drumming on his drums


A packed house during the Dr. Dog set. Luckily for you, my ugly mug is not in the shot.


One last shot of the diverse crowd

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