Donnelly: Dr. Dog @ The Granada in Lawrence, February 2, 2012

With an album set to be released in a few days, Dr. Dog’s Thursday set at the Granada in Lawrence was sure to feature an excellent preview of their new tunes.

The band took the stage looking goofy and loose, wearing different winter caps and sunglasses.

Co-lead singer Scott McMicken warned the crowd early on, "We’ve got all these new songs, so bear with us."

Indeed, Dr. Dog played a decent chunk of songs off

Be The Void, including opener That Old Black Hole, Do The Trick, Lonesome and Vampire all within the first eight songs.

Though their stop in Lawrence was only the second date on the band’s current tour it was apparent these guys have been on the road non-stop and know how to put on a show. They even brought their own set that looked like a college dorm room, complete with posters and graffiti on the walls.

Audience members provided the haze…

The surprisingly strong, sound-board-deep crowd was receptive to the new stuff for the most part, and the band’s backloaded set worked out pretty well by delivering more familiar tunes to keep the energy going as the night wore on.

Dr. Dog brought its trademark, all-over-the-map sound, mixing formulaic sixties blues-rock doo wop with straight up folk with slow and swampy buzzing guitar rock, all of which was blanketed by strong harmonies. 

One of the better songs of the night, the plodding southern porch song Lonesome, saw the band at its most effective.  The chorus lament, "What does it take to be lonesome/ Nothing at all" was backed nicely by a dirty blues slide guitar that could’ve been cranked a little more. 

They went right back to their sweet spot by busting out the weighty double guitar brooder Vampire, that featured an extended jam.  A few songs later, perhaps their best song of the night, Hang On, got the crowd going and they rode the energy all the way, breaking out favorites like The Beach and Shadow People

Dr. Dog is an easy band to like.  They mix a lot of great elements, like good harmonies, catchy songwriting, the right amount of pop and the right amount of grit.  And the semi-regular psychedelic jam never quite mutates into what I consider traditional "jamband" mode. 

Sometimes, though, it seemed like there was almost too much mixing and matching to put together a really cohesive set.  Maybe that’s because the new material is still finding its proper place in the band’s repertoire

After Dr. Dog’s set, an encore was a sure thing, and the big crowd was happy to wait out what seemed like quite a long while before the boys returned to the stage to crank out a kind of weird, British-tinged new song, Warrior Man, before ending with the favorite Easy Beat

Like I said, I was a little surprised that Dr. Dog has grown in popularity so much in the last year, judging by the turnout.  And its new album’s pretty strong, so I expect they’ll keep pointing up and up. 

If you haven’t checked out Be The Void yet, you can still stream it free for another day or two at

Set list:

That Old Black Hole
The Breeze
The Ark
Do the Trick
Mirror, Mirror
My Friend
I Only Wear Blue
Hang On
Heavy Light
The Rabbit, the Bat and the Reindeer
The Beach
Shadow People
Shame, Shame

Warrior Man
Easy Beat

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