As I speed-walked down 7th Ave I was a little stressed out.  My boyfriend and I had gotten distracted by the Skatepark show…and the vodka…at Czar and I thought for sure we had missed the opening bands, and possibly part of Dr. Dog.  I had seen them before, at Lollapalooza last year, and even on a little stage set way back from the crowd in the middle of an August afternoon they were amazing. Needless to say, I was stoked to find out that that were going to be in town at the Crowbar, a cool, unpretentious little local venue that they seem to have a liking for, having played there twice before.  Having been late to get on the Dog-wagon, I missed them the first couple times they came through Tampa so I was not going to miss them this time, damnit!  As we rounded the corner and headed down 17th I was instantly relieved to see a dog in a lab coat standing outside the club.  Actually it was a dude in a dog costume wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope.  Still, it clearly meant that Dr Dog was not on yet, so after getting some pictures (turns out the dog and his friends in scrubs and stethoscopes were doing some sort of class project), we headed in.

Turns out the first opener hadn’t even gone on yet.  This delay in starting things may have led to a crowd that was more restless than usual.  It also may have led to the first opener, local band Win Win Winter, being a little agitated.  Or both.  Either way the crowd was restless and bustling when this first band took the stage, so it was kind of understandable when lead singer Thomas asked the crowd to act like they were in a library and stop chatting…and equally understandable that not too many of the aforementioned chatters actually did. Still, they plugged along and I thought they were pretty good all things considered. The standout moment for me was a cover of the Beatles’ “Something in the Way She Moves”, which was enhanced even more by the fact that Thomas’ voice kept reminding me of Billy Corgan before he shaved his head.

Next up was Drug Rug from Massachusetts, a five piece that includes a boyfriend/girlfriend team on vocals that I thought were fantastic.  They did just what I want an opening band to do- introduce me to something new that I may like and get the crowd revved up for the main act.  Plus, I am an utter and complete sucker for sugary vocal harmonies and they delivered in spades.  As the wooden planks of the stage bowed and popped under the band bouncing through “For The Rest of Your Life” I decided that I had to remember to check these guys out when I got home.  A couple songs later I found myself singing along to a song I’d never even heard before.  These guys are good!

Finally, not too long after Drug Rug left it, Dr Dog took the stage to plug in their shit, did a quick sound check and then it was down to business.  Fan-fucking-tastic.  The whole damned thing.  They played every song like it was the encore, from “The Ark” through “My Old Ways”…17 songs of Blues Brothers-esque high stepping, unhinged-jaw belting out of lyrics, and sweating through little white towel after little white towel.  Which song was my favorite?  I can’t even tell you, I stopped taking notes about 30 seconds in and just sang along.  I can tell you, however, that I laughed my fucking ass off when the guy in the dog costume got invited up on stage and hung out for a whole song, dancing and jumping in that heavy, hot rental.  Note to Tampa readers…do not rent the costume in the above picture, it will never, ever be the same.  And I will never, ever miss Dr Dog @ The Crowbar again.

If you want to see more pictures from the show, you can check out the album here

Win Win Winter on MySpace

Drug Rug on MySpace

Dr Dog on MySpace

Dr Dog – Army of Ancients
Dr Dog – The Beach