It’s not often that a band can achieve a certain cult-status in their own lifetime before fading into either cheesiness or obscurity. A road diverged in the woods for Dr. Dog, and instead of falling by the wayside or chalking the whole thing off, they became living Philadelphia legends. Coming up on a decade and a half of jamming hard, the road warriors returned from a long haul and celebrated in style on Thursday night at The Fillmore—one of the few Philly venues they’d left to conquer, by virtue of its youth.
While the most recent leg of Dr. Dog’s tour saw them joining forces with our good friends The Districts for shows in the Midwest, strong support for first of two big hometowners (catch them at the Fillmore again next month, April 17th!) came from pinch-hitters Hop Along. Frances Quinlan & co. made the best of their all-to-short 50-minute set, ripping through a setlist of mostly Painted Shut cuts, breaking out tearjerker classic “Tibetan Pop Stars” as the only reminder of 2012’s Get Disowned. I spent the whole set alternating between screaming and shaking my fists along with the crushing riffs one moment and hugging myself the next, sobbing like I had been punched straight in the heart. It happens every time I see Hop Along, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s been their headlining Union Transfer show last spring since I’d previously seen them, and even though my ears are still ringing from Thursday night, I’m already hoping they announce another hometown headlining show.
Even after having seen them accidentally at least four or five times (#XPNperks, right?), I still feel like I’m seeing Dr. Dog for the first time, each and every time. What a treat! They always come bearing gifts: Vividly colorful stage setups, almost unbearably happy jams and setlists that are just about as expansive and never-ending as the eager fans can take. The Dr. Dog guys are clearly firm believers in the idea that there just can’t be too much of a good thing, sometimes known to play encores that are just as long—if not longer—than their original set.
Before they made it to the set break, however, Scott, Toby and the rest of the crew busted through a vibrant set of feel-good jams that equally celebrated every era of the band’s storied career. Early on, they played the Psychedelic Swamp anthem “Bring My Baby Back” right on into Be The Void classic “How Long Must I Wait,” and all was right with the world. Fans old and new kept up word for word, turning the packed Filmore into one big family, gathered around the radio singing lustily.
By the time the schedule said they were supposed to start wrapping it up, Dr. Dog were barely getting started. Closing the first set with 2010’s “Shadow People,” the Dog left little to be desired on stage—each member belting it out and jiving around the stage during vocal-less interludes where each member shined bright one after the next. Coming back on stage after a few minutes to thunderous applause from the adoring hometown audience, they treated the fans to another seven or eight songs, even starting taking requests for a handful of their encore. Any doubt in the house that Dr. Dog are one of the mightiest currently operating Philly bands was quickly wiped away in joy and dancing.
Hop Along setlist
Buddy in the Parade
Tibetan Pop Stars
Dr. Dog setlist:
Badvertise 8-bit sound intro
Holes In My Back > Fire On My Back
Bring My Baby Back
That Old Black Hole
Turning the Century
The Way the Lazy Do
Be the Void
How Long Must I Wait?
The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer (request)
Heart It Races (Architecture in Helsinki cover) (request)
Jackie Wants a Black Eye
Dr. Dog, Hop Along, The Filmore