that dog. drummer Tony Maxwell said it best tonight, "What is this? Fucking 90s nostalgia week." Indeed it is. We have Afghan Whigs and Stone Roses both playing their first shows in over a decade, and now, 90s alternative rock super heroes that dog. played their first show in New York in 15 years.
When I write about these reunions, I make the headline, "This Week In Random Reunions". It seems fitting for this band. It slipped under my radar when they got back together last year in Los Angeles. Maybe I've got blinders on, but I didn't think there was much of a groundswell of voices calling for a reunion. Let's face it, that dog. weren't the most popular of the 90s alterna-bands that road in on the wave of the Pixies success. They didn't have a radio hit, but had some popular songs that made its way onto 120 Minutes. I had all but forgotten about them.
So I gave the show a chance, being that I never saw them back in the day. Anna Waronker took a quick survey on who had seen them before vs. who's seeing them now for the first time. The first timers won out ... thus you have your reason why you are seeing more random reunions -- there's a whole new group of fans out there willing to shell out money for tickets, merch and reissues.
Tonight's show did what I thought it would, re-introduce their catalogue to a new fan base as best they could. I have another catch phrase I write on here, "Back and better than ever". Tonight was like, "Back! And it's a work in progress." The first half of the show was pretty shaky, they look lost and disjointed at times, and the vocals didn't have much punch. Around when they trotted out Punk Rock Girl and Long Island, that's when the energy in the room lifted and band became more comfortable on stage.
The setlist. The show clocked in at about an hour and 25 minutes:
- Grunge Couple
- Old Timer
- Ms. Wrong
- Being With You
- Lip Gloss
- In the Back of My Mind
- She Looks At Me
- Punk Rock Girl
- Long Island
- Retreat From the Sun
- Did You Ever
- Gagged and Tied
- He's Kissing Christian
- Encore: Never Say Never
- Michael Jordan
- This Boy
Plenty of shouts from the crowd on what that dog. should play tonight. Minneapolis was top on my list of what they should play. It wasn't like they had anything to promote like a new album, so they were able to please all the fans. When they played Never Say Never, it reminded me of the video where Anna is wearing a low-cut sweater, leopard print bra and short shorts. You look at her on stage tonight wearing a loose fitting shirt and she's a mom with her baby in the balcony. Oh, how the times have changed the rock chicks of the 90s.
I joke about the passage of time, because, one day two decades from now, all the new bands we listen to today will outgrow the scene, start families and loose the glow of being young, good-looking and playing trendy music to 20-somethings in Brooklyn. Seeing the members of that dog. joke around on stage and laugh off their problems with remembering the music gave me a smile as well. Recapturing the magic of two decades ago isn't as easy as it looks, aye kids?
In all, it's good for that dog. to get back into things. I was trying to think of bands from today that sound like them, and I couldn't think of it -- the aggressive female vocals in the Liz Phair motif, with the stripped down punk via pop guitar chords. Add in Petra Haden's violin and you've got the that dog. sound. They didn't mention anything tonight about the future of new material or further dates, but I like to see them take a crack at some new tunes.
I give the show a slightly into the positive outcome. Like I said, not the tightest of performances, but the show made me remember all the bands in that era that soundtrack my high school and college years. Then I drove home and cried because now I'm old and boring.
So any other DGC bands want to get back together. Come on, The Sundays. Get it together!