At the historic theater The Magic Bag, Desmond Jones and Dogs in a Pile provided an evening full of grooving fun. Michigan Natives Desmond Jones took the stage and I could tell off the bat these guys loved providing a true show. The performance was full of funky swaying instrumentals, with a few comical lyrics mixed in here and there. The band didn’t take themselves too seriously, and the element of humor to their performance suited the crowd well. Their second to last song, “Poor Sylvester” was one of my favorites.
I was really impressed with this band’s ability to create tension within the music and then release it. The saxophone and bass created a steady flow. The drums and guitar countered that by ramping up the tempo and releasing the built up tension that was built. This made it so the instrumentals were never background music, even though there were no lyrics people were attentively bopping along and then proceeding to jam out. Then Bryan Murray of Dogs in a Pile came out on stage to join Desmond Jones for my favorite song of their set, “Smoke the Ashes.” The bluegrass influence really shone through on this track in particular. Throughout the show, I was amazed by how versatile George Falk was on his saxophonist.
After a wonderful start from Desmond Jones, Dogs in a Pile and their almost cult-like fanbase–referred to as the “Dog Pound”–proceeded to fill the venue with energy. WCBN had a chance to interview Dogs in a Pile before the show and the guys were able to provide some amazing insight into their writing process, their origins, and their influences. The band members Jimmy Law, Jeremy Kaplan, Brian Murray, Joey Babick, and Sam Lucid were all interesting and charismatic guys, and the interview made me excited going into the show. The laser displays and space-like orb light structures hanging from the ceiling helped transport me to a new and exciting world as their performance started.
I started out the main show sitting in quite comfortable seats at the Magic Bag where I could still see the band, and then when we were more energized by the music we moved into the crowd by the stage to dance. The range of seating options that the Magic Bag offers is a positive addition to the concert experience. Dogs in a Pile’s show was for the most part instrumental, with a lot of Grateful Dead and Phish influence. They performed an excellent cover of “Apeman” by The Kinks that Jeremy Kaplan led, which was great. My favorite originals were definitely “Samba for Sam” and “Bugle on the Shelf.” I loved the slight bluegrass influence that could be heard in certain songs. By the end of the night I was dancing and having a wonderful time. The Dogs are continuing their North American tour and for any fans of jazz, jam band style or psychedelic rock, or just looking for a good time–I highly recommend checking them out!