As exhibited last night at Little Brother's, Dr. Dog is one of those bands that makes looking backward seem reasonable. The Philadelphia sextet put on a buoyant show built on throwback pop tunes both sophisticated and streamlined. Harmonies rained down from the stage, inventive basslines snaked through warm chords and songs took unexpected but delightful twists.
What a bad night to forget the camera. Besides cranking out an hour's worth of retro gems, Dr. Dog was one of the bouncier pop bands I've witnessed, rocking out with a road-tested swagger. Immersed in all these charismatic, slightly twangy pop tunes, I felt like I was watching The Last Waltz or something.
Any number of bygone reference points were valid: The Beach Boys, Neil Young, David Bowie, maybe even a little Queen. A friend noted that this is what the Beatles would have sounded like in '76 if they were still together. What made it so good was that the band incorporated all these elements into its own little universe. It never felt like Dr. Dog was stealing from the past; these beautiful songs and their classic aesthetic were wholly their own.