Dr. Dog coming to Wiegand

Dr. Dog is coming to Carnegie Mellon on Saturday, courtesy of the Activities Board. These psychedelic rockers are a quintet made up of Toby Leaman, Scott McMicken, Frank McElroy, Zach Miller, and Eric Slick. Dr. Dog isn’t a bar band — some of the popular acts it has toured with include the Raconteurs, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, and Wilco. The band has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Currently, the group is promoting its latest album, Shame, Shame.

The band is made up of Pennsylvania natives and was formed in Philadelphia. Its first four albums were made in a home studio, an odd attribute that adequately describes each of those albums. While the band may sound at first as if it is a product of the ’60s, it experiments with altering its music beyond the typical guitar/drum/bass combination. The band has the sonic experimentation of the Beatles, the beautiful harmonies of the Beach Boys, and the electrical oddity of Beck.

Carnegie Mellon should prove to be an excellent venue for Dr. Dog, as the band’s psychedelic harmonies and jams will mesh with the small venue. Wiegand Gymnasium is small enough that Leaman and McMicken will be able to directly interact with the crowd, rather than relying on a microphone.

Toothbrush is the most jarring of the band’s albums. Its lo-fi quality sounds as if it was recorded on an answering machine. However, this quality contributes to the album’s charm — and the melodies are so good that the potential downfall turns into a positive attribute. The band members expanded upon these jam-band melodies with We
All Belong
. Lyrically and sonically, they reached the ultimate in sunny-pop. Tracks glisten with happiness, and beats implore the listener to move.

Most recently, the band released Shame, Shame. Speaking about the album, McMicken said in an interview on d.drdogmusic.com that “With our last record [2008’s Fate], there didn’t seem to be the next logical step with the general set of sensibilities and aesthetics that we’d been working from up until that point. It felt like a closed book.” And what an album they released. Shame, Shame is a dramatic shift in focus, and provides the listener a great insight into the massive energy that will come to Pittsburgh this Saturday.

Dr. Dog’s signature style isn’t meant to technically impress. Instead, the band seeks to get the crowd moving. The members employ hooks that are so infectious that they practically beg the listener to dance and be happy. On their tour with the Raconteurs in 2006, the band members nearly outclassed Jack White — a feat that most would deem impossible. There is no better way to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving Break than by seeing a band whose aim is to make everyone happy. The concert will be at 8 p.m. this Saturday in Wiegand Gymnasium.

Christopher Jarrett | Staffwriter