Coming down on Christmas morning and finding out you got everything you asked for without ever having to make a list to give to your parents can be a truly blissful feeling. For someone who had never seen Dr. Dog live before‚ nor really listened to them very much until this past year‚ I felt like that kid on Christmas morning when catching their set at Revolution Hall.

Every expectation I had concocted in my head leading up to the show was met. Their energy would either match the crowds or push it even further‚ their Beach Boys-like harmonies filled the room and their performance carried more weight than what can be heard on their recorded material. Honestly‚ what true music fan wouldn't love that?
Entering the hipster-filled Revolution Hall that evening‚ a wash of sensory overload caused by a brightly colored 70's patterned back drop‚ compounded by the abundance of Tiger helmets onstage created a festive atmosphere. Guitarists Scott McMicken and Frank McElroy were sporting sunglasses‚ even though McMicken's may win the title of "Granny Glasses‚" but from what I'm told it is a normal occurrence. The band seemed well seasoned for a tour opener‚ as they tore through a majority off their 2008 record Fate‚ as well as a plentiful amount of songs from their upcoming release Shame‚ Shame. The new material struck a heavier chord‚ as the band met their goal of creating a more punk rock sound to match the energy of their performance. Songs such as "Stranger" and "Where'd All the Time Go" were a perfect foreshadow into how Shame‚ Shame may take shape.
Still‚ the band was almost business-like‚ only talking with the crowd a few times and covering as much musical ground as possible in their set. This is not to say the band themselves didn't have a good time‚ as they watched the crowd groove and shimmy along. Some even removed clothing from working up such a sweat. Those in attendance were there to get down‚ and many just wanted to sing along and flash a smile every now and then.
Getting the show off to a racing start‚ they opened with the trotting "The Old Days." Immediately the band was bouncing around the stage. Really knowing how to set the mood‚ their incendiary solos arrived in numbers in songs like the harrowing "The Ark‚" where bassist Toby Leamen's bluesy growl shot through Rev. Hall‚ and "The Pretender" found McMicken and McElroy facing off in duel-like fashion.
The confidence in their performance was impressive‚ as Leamen sang with conviction while McMicken arched his body to bending guitar notes. As the show progressed the crowd became more involved‚ getting even the drunkest of them all to do his best to sing-a-long to the 60's throwback "Hang On" as his girlfriend tried to carry his weight. They were able to tickle the crowd's pop sensibilities with a hopped-up version of "The Breeze" and the bass-laden "The Way the Lazy Do."
Some of the most memorable songs of the night were watching Leamen‚ McMicken‚ and McElroy put their voices to good use‚ as the soothing "From" showcased their pristine three-part harmonies‚ along with "The Beach" where they showed their more aggressive nature.
The biggest surprise of the night came from the opening band The Growlers. Presenting their LSD-drenched surf rock to new ears‚ the band moseyed through their 70's influence styled rock‚ as lead singer Brooks Nielsen resembled a nasally Jim Morrison. Hailing from Southern California‚ the band was the perfect complement to Dr. Dog‚ as their noodle-y guitars could force the band into the spaghetti western category. Nielsen's voice began to strain‚ as he complained that even with it being the first night of the tour‚ he was already losing his voice. The biggest mystery of the night‚ though‚ was what was he drinking out of the styrofoam cup? Probably nothing that needs to be investigated into any further.
After missing them several times on past tours‚ I knew I would be kicking myself if I missed them this time around. On this particular Wednesday evening‚ the guys from Dr. Dog were all about having fun. Any fan of the band should be excited for the release of Shame‚ Shame in April‚ because it will only reinforce the mission Dr. Dog tries to accomplish through live music.