The last couple weeks, I’ve felt a bit like I’m drowning. Everything is great just busy. Believe me, I’d MUCH rather be busy than not, but I’ve just felt like I’ve been pulled in a thousand different directions lately between work, being a mom and wife, travel, evening commitments, pointless doctor appointments, and trying to get myself into shape.
Ninety percent of it has been good stuff but the mixed in crap has been just enough to put me in a sour mood far too often. It was the kind of mood that only thing was going to drive away — a good old-fashioned rock show.
But this wasn’t any old rock show. This was my beloved Dr. Dog. I wasn’t the only one excited to see them back in Orlando.
Dr. Dog is one of my favorite all-time bands. They’re from my home-area of southeastern Pennsylvania, and since DadJovi first introduced me to them about five years ago, they’ve risen through the ranks to become one of my favorite bands of all-time (yes, that’s a bold statement, but I stand by it).
Long-time readers may recall when I went to last year’s Orlando Calling music festival (which sadly is dead forever), I parked myself right in front of their stage, even though the Pixies were playing at the same time. Nothing was going to keep me from them, and it was glorious.
It had been a long time coming, too. When they first came to town (at least since I’d started liking them anyway), E. was only two weeks old. And, well, that wasn’t going to happen, even though
that jerk my loving husband still went to the show. Last summer, they returned again, and I was finally going to see them. I even met a nice young man who I surmised was “with the band” and hung out with him for a bit.
Yeah, he wasn’t just with the band — he was one of the two lead singers. I would have realized this fact as soon as the show started except for one thing … as the band was taking the stage, my babysitter called to say that E. had thrown up TWICE and was really sick and miserable. Mommyhood Calling, indeed.
This time, though, E. was seemingly in good health as we set out for our evening. And before the show even started, our babysitter (the same one from the puking incident) texted me to let me know E. was already fast asleep. Party on!
During the opening band, I was looking at every hipster walking by trying to find my friend pictured above. Finally, he emerged. And I froze up.
For some reason, me smiling and giving him a head nod as he walked by was not enough to entice him to stop by our table and start chatting with us. Man, rock stars are so temperamental.
Finally, it was showtime. And I was in heaven.
If you live in Central Florida and you’ve never seen a show at The Social, you need to change that immediately. From its facade on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, it looks like any other (lame) club downtown. But when you walk inside, it’s as if you’ve been transported to a huge barn, albeit one with brick walls and the reflection from the disco ball twinkling all across the room. The ceilings are vaulted and the floor in front of the stage is sunken. People crowd down there (the younguns) and us elders stand along the railings and space a few steps up from the floor. There are two bars — one directly in front of the stage and one in a back room area. Even on sold-out nights (like this one) the wait for a drink is never more than a couple minutes. Mercifully, they stopped allowing smoking inside a few years back.
It’s one of my favorite places in Orlando. Add one of my favorite bands to the mix and BAM, you’ve got the recipe for my perfect night out.
So how do I describe Dr. Dog? Well, Wikipedia puts them in the indie rock and psychedelic rocks genres, and I think that’s probably fitting. I just call them great. No matter my mood, it’s always a good time to listen to Dr. Dog. Several songs appear on my running lists, including “Worst Trip,” from my favorite album, 2007’s “We All Belong.” I always find the following lyrics perfectly suited for pretty much every one of my runs.
Is this the worst trip
You have ever been on?
Well, I thought you’d kind of like it
It’s awfully dark and quiet here
Sadly, they didn’t play anything from that album but they did play a ton from the album I like almost as much, “Shame, Shame.” They even closed with the song they wrote about me, “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” which of course I thought was “Jackie Wants a Black Guy” the first time I heard it.
As much as I love my little buddy Scott McMicken (just because he doesn’t know we’re friends doesn’t mean we aren’t), I may love his co-lead singer Toby Leanman a wee bit more for his stage sex appeal. The only way I can think to describe him is he’s very feline in his movements.
How low can he go?
Dead sexy. Trust me and my
five two vodka tonics.
That’s OK, Scott, you and your knit hats will always hold a special place in my heart.
They played for almost two hours, and I sang my heart out for every single minute of that. I kept saying to DadJovi, “I’M SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!”
All too quickly, it was time to say good-bye to my friends.
How great is live music? There is no high or thrill in the world that can beat rocking out to one of your favorite bands while they play right in front of you. I don’t care if you’re 15 feet from them like I was at The Social or squinting from the nosebleed seats, nothing compares to seeing a real band do their thing (and no, I’m not talking about pop stars who lip synch to their overly produced music. That can be entertaining in its own right, but it’s just not the same).
I also love that I’ve loved this band for so long and have witnessed their growth and changes. It’s a mixed bag liking a band so much when they have had some success but not enough to be on everyone’s radar. They’ve appeared on most of the late-night talk shows, opened for my number 1 band Wilco in recent months and appeared at major music festivals. But I was still able to stand just feet from the stage at an intimate venue. I obviously want them to achieve enough success for them to keep performing and recording music, but is it wrong to be afraid that they’ll suddenly skyrocket to flash-in-the-pan Bon Iver or Vampire Weekend levels, making it annoying and unwieldy to battle teenyboppers for a spot at the show? Or, God forbid, they become so overexposed like one of my favorite bands, Kings of Leon that even the band itself can’t listen to its own songs anymore?
Such first-world troubles I have.
And yes, I bought a t-shirt. Obviously.
Quick funny story about the guy I’m pictured with here. He’s one of DadJovi’s good friends. They used to work together and now play poker together monthly and he frequently comes to shows at The Social with us (his wife isn’t a big fan of concerts).
Before the show, we went to dinner at Tako Cheena (mmm!) and I was telling him about this little old blog. J. had all sorts of questions about how to start one, what I write about, why I do it, etc. He said he’s been considering starting one but wasn’t sure what exactly he wanted to write about (join the club). Through the course of this conversation, J., who is a marathoner and triathlete, says, “I’ve only ever read one blog regularly, and I found it before my first tri when I was researching how to handle the transitions. Have you ever heard of one called Meals and Miles?”
I started dying laughing. Yes, I’ve heard of my friend Meghann’s blog. What a small world! Meghann, he was a big fan and said how helpful your tri posts were to him, so kudos to you! And between the two of us, we just may have birthed a new blogger. Where’s our baby shower?!?
I’m happy I can check a HUGE item off my bucket list — seeing a COMPLETE Dr. Dog concert, not just the first song and not a mini-set at a festival.
And it rocked my world.
What is one band you’re desperate to see live? Do you prefer small, intimate venues or large, stadium-rocking shows?