Performing for about two decades now, the Philadelphia based rock band Dr. Dog has their show down to a science.
This was proven during their sold-out show last Sunday night at the reality-bending Santa Fe Meow Wolf. Doors opened at 8 p.m., lasting until the concert ended at 11 p.m. Their set list included songs off of their albums “Fate,” “Shame, Shame,” “Be the Void,” “B-Room,” “Abandoned mansion” and “Critical Equation,” along with a song off of their latest, 2019 album. Behind the band, psychedelic projections danced across the House of Eternal Return, tracing the trimming along the roof shingles and making the stage come to life.
Thanks to the band’s success over the past 20 years, the group could be explained as having a cult-following. Dr. Dog drew a crowd which seemed to have been following them since their first album “Toothbrush,” released in 2003. One of those devout followers, Denise Treviño, drove over 700 miles from San Antonio to see the band. Another fan in the crowd was recent UNM graduate, Kelsey Bicknell.
“They have very insightful lyrics. It’s melancholy bit also its very realistic, and also kind of hopeful about life and relationships,” Bicknell said. “They discuss a lot about the human experience which is super cool. You know, they make the album, and it's for them, but then they come and play for everybody, and that’s super cool.”
But, for fans of all ages, it’s Dr. Dog’s melancholy tone that makes the group stand out. Performing songs like “Where’d All the Time Go,” off of their 2010 album “Shame, Shame,” and “Nellie,” off of their 2013 album “B-Room,” the crowd seemed to fall into a meditative state. Thanks to the emotional nature of Dr. Dog’s lyrics, the concert seemed to trance the audience into a lulled sway.
Because of this, the show had a somewhat anticipated energy to it— no one in the crowd decided to run on stage or shove anyone out of the way. There were no concert surprises. Nevertheless, everyone seemed to enjoy the show, as members of the audience left the night with smiles on their faces and empty cans of New Mexico craft beer in hand.
Contrary to the energy during Dr. Dog was the spirit of the openers, a self identified genre-bending group called the Rad Trads. Based out of Brooklyn, their performance in Santa Fe marked the band's first time in New Mexico.
With sounds of ska, a dash of funk, and folk-y lyrics, drummer of the band John Fatum said that he believes his band is really fun. He continued on, saying the group's goal is just to have fun, and that is what makes them unique.
“Despite the small space, Meow Wolf was wonderful,” Fatum said. "We are Dr. Dog fans so we knew the fans were gonna be great but we are appreciative on how everyone was really listening to our lyrics and in to the vibe. The space really played off tot that… We like playing, and we are writing stuff that is meaningful to us, but it’s more about having a good time.”
During the concert, one of the audience members even pulled out a secret bubble stash, blowing bubbles as the band played along.
Luisa Pennington is the Culture Editor of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @_luisapennington_.