If you think you’re familiar with the music of Dr. Dog, you’re in for a surprise at one of the band’s live performances.
“What we seek to create in a live show is more than just the presentation of songs, but the awakening of the moment,” said Scott McMicken, lead guitarist and vocalist of Dr. Dog. “Our live shows are not so much about delivering with faithful execution the song we’ve recorded and released, but creating a unique moment that you have to be there to experience.”
Dr. Dog — which includes McMicken, bassist and vocalist Toby Leaman, keyboardist Zach Miller, drummer Eric Slick, rhythm guitarist Frank McElroy and multi-instrumentalist Dimitri Manos — is scheduled to appear at Newport Music Hall Thursday, with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Part of the band’s ability to create this special moment with its audience is partly because of the members’ growth as performers in the past few years, McMicken said.
“In the last couple of years, the barrier between the live show world and the open-ended variety world of recording has started to dissolve a little bit,” McMicken said. “As a band, we’re starting to be able to express that variety that we’ve so naturally been able to do in the recording process, now in our live shows.”
This variety in both recording and performance makes it hard to pin a specific genre on the band, McMicken said.
“Not to be intentionally elusive or anything, but I see us as a band that’s kind of hard to describe,” McMicken said. “The notion of cultivating a really singular identity in our sound was not really that fulfilling of a goal for us.”
Instead, the members of Dr. Dog focus on songwriting in order to keep growing and to keep the music flowing, McMicken said.
“The main idea is the songwriting, creating a world in your imagination around that song you wrote,” McMicken said. “And the band has always been a vehicle to test out those explorations and those experiments in songwriting.”
Despite any musical experiments the band tests out, one thing is certain: Columbus is a frequent stopping point for Dr. Dog, McMicken said.
“Columbus has been pretty much a mainstay on every major tour we’ve done, whether it be opening or headlining,” McMicken said. “That’s because we’ve always had a great reception here — it’s one of those towns that has been supportive of the band going all the way back to the early days.”
Marissa Luther, marketing director for PromoWest Productions, said there’s a reason the band keeps coming back to the Columbus area.
“We love having the band, they have a great audience and they have a great live show,” Luther said. “We try to get them as much as we can.”
Meredith Richards, a third-year in respiratory therapy, said Dr. Dog’s fan base in Columbus is actually how she came to know of the band.
“I didn’t really know who they were until I met some people from Columbus that are fans of them, and they’ve been to a bunch of their concerts,” Richards said. “I actually thought about going, but I’m still not sure if I will.”
The members of Dr. Dog are ready to bring their live show to Columbus once again and share their live experience with the fans, McMicken said.
“I can report that we’re all feeling super happy with the live set we have,” McMicken said. “We’re really excited to get out and play for our fans and see what they think about everything. It’s a nice time for the band.”
Dr. Dog tickets are available for $20 in advance and $22 the day of the show.