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Old Dr. Dog up to new tricks, bringing indie rock to Columbus stage

Courtesy of Dr. Dog

More animated than Dr. Pepper and more worldly than Dr. Love, Dr. Dog is giving its fans something new to obsess over.

The Philadelphia-based indie rock band is scheduled to perform 8 p.m. Monday at Newport Music Hall to promote its February-released album “Be the Void.”

This is the first album for the band since its “Shame, Shame” release in 2010. Lead vocalist and guitarist Scott McMicken said the best part about playing new songs to the fans is to see them singing along.

“Looking out and seeing people sing the new (songs) along with the old ones ties the show together real nice,” McMicken said.

Shows were not always that smooth, however.

When the band first started out in 1999, the members hoped for a good start to the days they opened for bigger names.

“It was very much pragmatic,” McMicken said. “Get there, first and foremost, hope your s— works and play and get out of the way.”

Since the band has been together for more than a decade, McMicken said the members are more aware of what the others are doing and that they have grown together as a group.

“At times, it (touring) can be overwhelming,” McMicken said. “Some days you just don’t have the energy (to perform). It’s the strength and support of the band that helps to revitalize itself on the bad days.”

He added things are better on this tour than they ever have been. The band is constantly coming up with new ways to keep its music fresh as well as keep its live show exciting and challenged, McMicken said.

Part of that is finding new ways to inspire and to be inspired.

McMicken said when he writes, he is inspired most by the things in life he has no control over, such as the direction the wind is blowing.

“You’re just sitting outside … in that moment, life just feels right,” he said. “Then that’s when you’re open to letting things out.”

Even on the days when nothing’s coming, the singer said he still manages to write, because if he only wrote songs when he felt inspired, he wouldn’t end up writing that many.

“Sometimes you have to make the inspiration for yourself,” he said.

That is how, after years together, Dr. Dog is still touring, bringing new music to its fans all over the world.

“If you stopped doing what it is you like to do, there’s no point at all for you to be doing it,” McMicken said.

Rachel Rustemeyer, a third-year in French, said that she likes the band’s old ’70s, yet modern sound.

There was a time when Dr. Dog was all she listened to, she said.

“I definitely associate their music with a certain time in my life,” Rustemeyer said.

Brett Ruland, owner of Spoonful Records on East Long Street, said he’s excited to see a band that doesn’t get a lot of exposure in the music industry come to Columbus.

“Somehow, they get skipped over,” Ruland said.

The store might see an influx of record sales due to the show, Ruland said, so he’s planning on stocking up on Dr. Dog records in preparation. It currently carries Dr. Dog’s “Be the Void” and “Shame, Shame” on vinyl.

Tickets for the show are $20 at the door in advance and $22 the day of the show.


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