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Show Review: Dr. Dog and Here We Go Magic @ The Fillmore

A diverse crowd gathered on the dance floor for last night’s Dr. Dog show at the Fillmore: hip, metal-head moms with their young daughters in-tow; jocks in faux-hawks and Brian Wilson beards with their orange and black clad counterparts, fists still pumping from the Giants victory parade earlier in the day; hipster-geeks who spent the precious minutes between sets propped against the stage with their Mac-Books; be-dreaded pseudo-hippies with Klean Kanteens hanging from their belts.

The universal crowd stems in-part from the music’s universal draw. Hooks are catchy and upbeat, backed by doo-wop vocal harmonies that give the Philly-based band’s overall sound a familiar, warm quality to it. Their live sound has the high quality of a group that has been playing together for over a decade, not to mention the loyal fan-base to prove it. When Dr. Dog launched into “The Breeze,” one of their more mellow tunes from the 2008 album, Fate, nearly everyone on the dance floor sang along.

Dr. Dog’s long history together means they also have a huge repertoire of songs to pull from, which includes five full-length albums. Last night they played a slew of songs from their latest album, Shame, Shame, but also pulled plenty from Fate and other earlier tunes. Their prolific song-writing seems not to have slowed as the band announced four new songs recorded just this summer.

Band members kept banter minimal last night, with one song bleeding into the next and hardly a beat between them. But the music speaks well for itself. Guitarist Scott McMicken and bassist Toby Leaman, who share lead vocals, have a tacit chemistry on stage together. Their combined energy stomping around stage was enough to get an audience riled without the accompanying blindingly bright lightshow. The seizure-inducing lights explain why some band members played the entire set in sunglasses. Doesn’t explain the beanies though.

Here We Go Magic opened in a haze of fog that complemented their dreamy, psyche-pop sound. The Brooklyn-based band proved they could perk ears and even get some arms waving in the crowd last night. Magic’s big sound sometimes edges on cacophony (the line for earplugs at the coat check grew exponentially as their set progressed), but songs are well-composed to handle the din. 

For those who missed out last night, Dr. Dog and openers are scheduled to play a second show tonight at the Fillmore.

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