Free at Noon Flashback: December’s Artist to Watch Dawg Yawp mesmerizes with their unique brand of sitar-heavy rock

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Dawg Yawp | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Dawg Yawp | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

WXPN’s December Artist to Watch Dawg Yawp certainly did not disappoint today at their Free at Noon show.

Helen Leicht said it best, “They had me at sitar.” The duo from Cincinnati consisted of Tyler Randall, Rob Keenan, a sitar, an acoustic guitar and an array of homemade productions that  created the illusion of a much larger band than stood before the crowd that day. I typically try to draw comparisons between the band I’m writing about and another well-known artist so that readers can get a better grasp on the sound of the group set before them. I say this with the utmost sincerity, Dawg Yawp’s sound can be categorized as nothing except completely original. A feat very difficult to achieve in today’s scene that is so densely saturated in guitar rock.

The boys mesmerized the crowd with their intricately layered sitar-heavy rock occasionally sprinkling in elements of folk-rock. The Ohio natives are currently on a mini tour in support of their 2016 debut self-titled record released via Old Flame Records. Their performance was a finely-tuned cohesive masterpiece that was frankly a little sensual at times. Maybe it was the sitar and the smooth crooning of Randall on slow-tempo ambient tracks like “Not So Sure.” Personal favorite, “Can’t Think” blew me away with heavily synthesized guitars woven in with tandem vocals that demanded the attention of listeners. To be perfectly honest, every song in their set brought something different to the table. One moment they created a thoroughly folk atmosphere with “East Virginia Blues,” and the next they were playing swanky ballads like “18 Carat.” I implore you to go check them out on Spotify or Bandcamp right now (seriously, go do it).

Towards the end of their forty-five minute set, which they ended with a Beatles cover, Keenan bashfully admitted to the crowd “When we got the call that we were going to be on [WXPN] we both just freaked out.” Don’t you worry boys, the feeling was very mutual. We were freaking out just as much about you guys coming here (or at least I was). If you weren’t able to catch Dawg Yawp at World Cafe, never fear. They are playing tonight at Dawson Street Pub. You can also check out an archive of the show below.

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