It was almost a month ago, but the experience at The Vic on 2/19 still hangs softly in my memory. It was a wonderfully intimate show by A Band of Horses. It was seated show, the same as they do for comedy shows at The VIc, and it was packed to the brim. We missed the opener and arrived at set break between the two bands. Luckily my friend Dan had saved us a seat. We were all the way at the top, but it didn’t seem to matter. The band was so relaxed and the result was great look into the true persona of the band. They sat down and chatted with the audience before starting into their acoustic set, and what a set it was. They have such beautiful harmonies and played unique versions of a few hits that really blew me away. Mostly due to the stand up base and the almost classical sound it created. Such a full sound, it filled The Vic with a joyous ring. The songs built beautifully and left us feeling energized.
Those were the words on the sign on stage at the Dr. Dog concert a few weeks ago at the Riv. This time I got there early, funny what happens when you heed your own advice. The opening band was Saint Rich out of Sussex County, New Jersey. The place was only about half full and I cozied up in front of the sound booth, which is my favorite place to be at any show because it ensures the best sound. You hear what the person adjusting the sound level hears, duh.
The first song that this group performed was admittedly pretty awful. I was second guessing my decision to get there so early, but I had a great spot and knew I would enjoy the headliner, so I stuck it out. I’m glad I did. They ended up playing a surprisingly good set. They had this vibe that was very Queen-esqe. I’m not saying they were THAT good, but still. At times they reminded me of some early Built to Spill work with their guitar riffs and bass lines. It was a bit rock and a bit jam. The lead singer reminded me of my roommate, Jordan O’Donnell. He didn’t look like him mind you, he just acted like I imagine Jordan would behave on stage if he were the lead singer of a rock band, that is all. They played a solid set, got the crowd warmed up. They seemed genuinely excited to be there and the guitarist had some awkwardly funny remarks in between songs. You can check out Saint Rich here.
Then came the headliner, Dr. Dog. The place had filled up by now at this sold out show. The full stage was revealed and a drive thru type sign had the words “A couple of two tree dogs.” I’m guessing a homage to Chicago dogs and the engrained accent of our “locals.” I saw some pictures of this tour with the same stage setup and they had a different quote on the sign at each show, which I thought was pretty cool. They started running right out the gates. The crowd was awesome and the music was flowing. They have a jammy flow, but not too jammy. People were dancing and groovin and I found my self doing the old soft shoe. The harmonies were spot on and you could tell they were having a lot of fun. Overall it was a great show. I would definitely check out Dr. Dog if you are not familiar.
I’ll leave you with a track off their new album, B Room, called Broken Heart. Enjoy!
I recently went to Jake Bugg at the Riviera. It got off to a bad start as it was an all ages show so it started early. I know you have to get to the Riv early to get a good spot. If you don’t you get stuck by the bar, can’t see and get a lot of echo and chatter from the crowd. I don’t understand why people go to show just to talk to hear other. Listen to the damn music, you paid you come in. Why not go to a bar somewhere and “chat.” Anyway, we arrived late and by the bar we were stuck. I was determined to not let that ruin my experience. We arrived as Jake was already in his set. I’m kind of hot and cold on him. I like about half his work, the more upbeat stuff. He showed great poise for a boy of 19. He is also a much better guitar player than I realized. He seemed seasoned in a way that is hard for me to fathom due to his age. Lord knows I was a mess at 19 and would not have had the composure or professionalism that he showed, which was refreshing. Overall his set was good, but not great. He didn’t “blow the roof” off, but I left satisfied. It will be interesting to see if he develops further or disappears with only a hit about being in the path of a lightning bolt.