Dr. Dog are a Philadelphia pop group big on the four Bs – The Beatles, the Band, the Beach Boys and beards. As a consequence of its excellent songcraft and vigorous albums, the band has slowly been gathering plaudits from fans of Philadelpia’s ‘psychedelphia’ movement, 1960's pop, Guided by Voices and the Elephant 6.

Touring behind their excellent new album ‘We All Belong’ the band passed through Ottawa on a pleasant Sunday evening on top of a diverse bill.

Due to either a shortage of classic-rock loving bands in Ottawa (or perhaps an inability by Revolution Rock, the very capable but punk-rock fixated promoter, to find a band with enough Beatles fans in it), they landed on top of a bill that could be politely described as diverse.

I first saw openers F!ght F!ght F!ght at Ottawa’s Synthfest where they put on a energetic set of new-wave with emo-style vocals and therapeutic lyrics. At least their set was lively and interesting.

They were followed by Tim’s Myth, a band whose local claim to fame is grabbing the $350,000 grand prize (that’s about 230,000 euro) in a local radio contest. A slightly funky, slightly folky outfit, Tim’s Myth has some excellent musicians and a lively stage presence. They delighted their local fans. Unfortunately, they are also horribly dull; all I could remember a day later was the bass thumping along.

Thus, it was all the more refreshing to see Dr. Dog tear through their tunes with such infectious energy, starting with ‘My Old Ways’.

The band was in a constant whirl as it ran through songs from their debut album 'Easy beat' and ‘We All Belong’. Guitarist Scott McMicken and bassist Toby Leaman came perilously close to running into one another as they bounced around the Zaphod’s stage with abandon.

Live, the band’s sound switches from the poppier, Apples in Stereo sound to something more like the Band, in part because keyboardist Zach Miller’s organ work is higher in the mix. Leaman’s voice is a strained tenor on the album version of ‘The Pretender’ – live it’s gravitated into a Joe Cocker-ish bark.

The band did without an encore, but the audience was entirely satisfied nonetheless.

















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