Containing almost none of the subtle charm that makes their album Fate such a pleasant listen, Dr. Dog's live show is of an entirely different breed. A separate entity that is not in the least inferior to the album, just different.
Download: Dr. Dog - "The Old Days"
The sold out Friday night show was the back end of a two night stint at the Double Door. Opening with "The Rabbit, The Bat and the Reindeer" from their most recent record, the set pushed the two hour mark and included everything from new unreleased material to some of their earliest tracks, which were undoubtedly unknown to most in the room. Much like their discography, the set was a collection of blues and psychedelic-inspired rock fitted with their peculiar style and approach.
The difference from album to stage was night and day. Delicate and neatly packaged songs were traded in for more raucous and ramshakle renditions. While their albums often contain a number of eerily familiar moments -- flashes of The Beatles and Beach Boys are common -- the performance was all their own. In a sort of disconnected unity the members unraveled the more meticulous recordings, giving them a loose feel. At any given moment the band seemed poised to trail off into some extended rendition of any given song. When they did bring out some of their older material, it helped to fill in some of the the gaps that the show had opened up. It also offered a glimpse at just how much their song writing has progressed.
While both surely have their place, the live show is preferred to the albums. A track such as Army of Ancients, which grows a touch weary and dull on record, is far more appealing live. The vocals don't hold up quite as well but the songs are much more spirited as a whole and avoiding receding into the background, as the albums have a tendency to do from time to time. Although, there is no reason these two even need to be pitted against one another, when viewed in unison the two parts actually work quite well.