Published Jan 13, 2015After seven studio albums and 15 years as a band, Dr. Dog — an ensemble that have made their bread off a legacy of outstanding performances — have finally released their first live album, Live At A Flamingo Hotel. Chronicled over a period of 20 shows, the live recordings capture all the enthusiasm and grit that has drawn their dedicated fan base since 1999.
Dr. Dog were a band before the days of digital platforms and music sharing, having gained a reputation as a wildly vivacious act by word of mouth and extensive touring alone. That being said, the always on-point Philly band have gotten flack for not being able to translate their energy into studio success despite consistently churning out reputable albums almost every two years since 2002. Live At A Flamingo Hotel capably bottles the lightning that has made Dr. Dog great: over the 19 tracks, the sextet improve upon folky, pop songs with jam-band improvisation and charismatic interaction. Dr. Dog's unique bantered levity is present throughout, as captured on "Jackie Wants A Black Eye" when Leaman and McMicken share an offbeat exchange of "What is that thing?" "It's my guitar." "Cool!" thus leading Leaman to return to the almost forgotten lyrics at hand and subsequently poll the crowd, asking whether they are "madly in love" or "madly insane" and settling that "It's a fucking nuthouse in here."
Live At A Flamingo Hotel is a preview of Dr. Dog's multi-dimensionality that goes beyond the competency of their albums. The endearing personal quality of the band, alluded to by many, shines on this record, raising the question: Why did they wait so long to make such an identity-defining live record? (Anti)