Dr. Dog – October 9th – The Boulder Theater

Photos by Ty Hyten

The Scene: The sold-out house filled in long before headliner Dr. Dog took the stage on Tuesday night at The Boulder Theater.  The majority of the crowd was under twenty-five, with popped bills, flannels, and various other touches of the Northwest that reminded me fall was in the air. I paid respect to the giant sloppy American flag at the back of the stage by quickly downing a Fat Tire, leaving me enough time to try to figure out what all the clutter on the stage was for.

Opener: Cotton Jones. The Maryland based six-piece Cotton Jones breathed life into that clutter. They played a steadily moving, mellow set that was perfectly balanced and damn good.  Singer Michael Nau, confident and at ease, has a singing style that’s both lackadaisical and expressive and, when paired with Whitney McGraw’s vocals, creates pure gold. McGraw’s voice is timid, angelic, and so, so sweet.  Their dreamy brand of vintage Folk Pop is powered by horn fills, pitter-patter Xylophone runs, and tight and balanced parts. I can’t foresee missing their next stop in Denver for anything shy of a funeral.

Dr. Dog:  I had failed to realize through listening to the record that these guys were powered by three strong voices, and it didn’t take me long to figure it out.  Lead man Toby Leaman bounced around with his Bass between the two capable voices of Scott McMicken who played Lead Guitar, and Frank McElroy who played Rhythm.

They lit up the huge flag and set the fans on fire. It was a Tuesday night, but the crowd was ready to go, and they went all night.  When you get the whole room moving like that, it can’t feel too bad to be an artist.  The boys were high energy and LOUD! The amps easily drowned out the nuances of the vocals upfront as they brought a harder sound to their live show as compared to their albums. The amps vibrated the crotch of my pants and clipped the levels in my brain, so I decided to swim upstream towards the middle of the house, for fertility and sounds sake.  Sadly, the sound wasn’t much better near the board, but the energy was still high from the front door to the back of the stage.

During the rare times that the guitars would dip out on songs like “Shadow People,” the harmonies were killer. A clear stand out of the evening was Be The Void’s “Lonesome” as the crowd really got into the action yelling the “HEY!”s during this sing-a-long favorite. Shortly thereafter the band left and returned to start a five song encore with “These Days” for the most energetic moment of the night.  They rounded the night off with “My Friend” and the young crowd hesitantly poured out into the cool Boulder evening after seeing a hard and heavy set from these indie all-stars.

Energy: A
Musicianship: B+
Sound: C+
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: A

Overall: A-