Since when did Dr. Dog become so popular? I knew that the show was sold out, but it wasn't until I walked into the main stage at the 9:30 club that I really grasped the status that Dr. Dog has acheived of late.
And what is that status? Well, its sort of a confusing one. I never really thought of Dr. Dog as 'stoner rock,' or even a 'jam band,' but maybe their self proclaimed sixties rock sound has attracted the hordes of hemp-wearing fans who draw the clumsy parallel.
Jam bands make music that is easy to listen to. Its cohesive, recognizable, and soothing to the ears. Dr. Dog's set was anything but that. They are, no matter how much playing on a big stage may mask it, a lo-fi band. But, this lo-fi quality mixed with fancy venue speakers translated into volume. Lots and lots of volume.
Dr. Dog has always been a no bullshit kind of band. Very little stage banter, short breaks in between songs (if any break at all), and zero mistakes. On a small stage, its impressive. On a big stage, its still impressive, but Dr. Dog's mechanical efficiency combined with the size of the stage, the crowd, and the polish of the production made it all a little impersonal.
To their credit, it seemed like they sent out a big 'Fuck You' to any tertiary fans who came to hear just the catchy hits from records past. Almost all of their older songs, particularly off of We All Belong bore only a passing resemblance to the originals. They're probably so sick of playing, "The Girl" that they twisted and rearranged into something new. I'm happy to see a band evolving, and think a live show should always offer something new, so I was pleased with it. But I have a feeling a lot of people left with ringing ears, some unsatisfaction, and scratching their heads.