Preview: Dr. Dog dances to new beat on 'Be the Void'
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Psychedelic rock band Dr. Dog might be endemic to Philadelphia, but luckily there doesn't seem to be any bad blood as it gets ready to play at WYEP's 15th annual Summer Music Festival on Friday.
"We've been playing Pittsburgh forever -- I really like Pittsburgh," said singer and bassist Toby Leaman.
The band frequently performs to a sell-out crowd at Mr. Smalls, a venue for which he expressed a distinct fondness. However, Dr. Dog will be ditching the club's intimate feel to play to the much more open Schenley Plaza.
In February, the quintet released its seventh album, "Be the Void," the fourth straight release to chart on the Billboard 200. According to Mr. Leaman, the result was a combination of a personnel change and a different approach to the music.
"The most striking difference is we have a different drummer than we've had for all of our other records," he said. "When we went into the studio, I don't think we really knew exactly what we wanted to do, or what kind of album we wanted to make. We knew we wanted it to be a little more upbeat than the one before and a little more live. Eric [Slick], our new drummer, definitely facilitated that. He's a powerhouse, probably the best musician in the band, and he was just banging stuff out really quick -- literally banging stuff out extremely fast. [On] this record, really more than any other, the songs are more immediate ... we didn't spend as much time as we normally do tinkering."
And although they do focus on their latest releases for live material, Mr. Leaman explained that the most recent music isn't always best for their concerts.
"I fully understand that not everybody is a fan of every record, and that usually the first record you heard is the favorite one of that band," he said. "So we try to play songs from pretty much every record -- especially of the last three, which are 'Fate' , 'Shame, Shame'  and 'Be the Void.' "
Most of all, Friday's show should fly in the face of any expectations of a subdued, lo-fi show.
"It'll be raucous. It'll be a live rock and roll show -- that's the whole point for us. The way I see it, there's no point to just stand up there and pretend. I'm a believer in going for it, no matter what."
First Published June 21, 2012 12:00 am