Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Live Report: Dr. Dog With Delta Spirit @ Lupos Heartbreak Hotel| Providence, RI|September 19, 2012

As I walked into Lupos Heartbreak Hotel the other night I was instantly reminded of the several shows I had seen in the famed Providence, RI venue over the years. Granted the venue has had three different locations since it's 1975 opening and seen countless bands pass through it's doors, but I've been lucky enough to have seen a number of superb shows at this venue. However for some reason I haven't found my way to Lupos in the past few years. The formidable double bill that featured two of our country's finest purveyors of scrappy Americana and earnest roots pop, Philadelphia's Dr. Dog and California's Delta Spirit was the perfect excuse for my return.

As I made my through the venue I could hear that Delta Spirit had taken the stage to a raucous crowd that would hang on every word from fronter, Matt Vasquez. The band delivered a well balanced set with drawing equally from there sterling and 2012 issued self titled release as well as their sturdy back catalog. Immediately the bands dynamic comes through live anchored by Vasquez' rich vocals and Delta Spirit's ability to blend folk, blues, and elements of classic rock into something wholly unique, all while delivering a stirring and energetic performance throughout. The band closed their set with, California the bands most recognizable track, which immediately turned into a sing along with everyone in the room bopping their heads in unison to Vasquez's tale of a well adjusted breakup, as the band brought their feverish and impressive performance to close.

Dr. Dog took to the stage outfitted in their finest thrift store garb and armed with a an impressive song book that they've crafted for the past 13 years over 7 LP's. Seeing the band last spring in Boston gave me a glimpse into their prowess for high caliber musicianship and rousing Live performances, my expectations were justifiably high and Philli's ramshackle odd ball pop enthusiasts failed to disappoint. From the opening chords of The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer it was apparent that the band was thrilled to be back on stage, as this was the 1st show of another tour to support the bands latest album, Be The Void. Dr. Dog are engaging as well as thoroughly entertaining on stage, with bassist Toby Leaman jumping and spinning about until he was soaked with sweat and Scott McMicken stomping guitar pedals and frantically hopping across the stage. The bands sound reaches new heights in the Live setting, some things that can be missed on their records, like how strong the harmonies are and how McMiken and Leaman voice compliment each other perfectly. Dr. Dog highlighted their set with some cherry picked tracks from their back catalog, Shadow People and The Breeze as well as the earnest pop tracks found on their excellent 2012 offering Be The Void, Lonesome and Heavy Light. As the beer and sweat soaked crowd danced, sang along and hung on the bands every note, Dr. Dog proved once again why they continue to be one of America's most dynamic and engrossing Live bands.

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