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Last Night at 35 Conferette: Dr. Dog Brings Good Vibes, Helps The Festival Find Its Footing


Dr. Dog
8:20 p.m. at Main Stage #1

It felt perfectly "Denton" -- a consummate "indie" performer, giving its adoring "indie" crowd a jubilant display at the region's preeminent "indie" festival.

Yes, after a Thursday night that was plagued by late set starts, Friday night's main stage headline performer, Dr. Dog, seemed to right many of the 2011 iteration of the 35 Conferette's initial wrongs.

And their method of doing so, actually, was quite simple: Placation, placation, placation.

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Over the course of their 80-minute main set and 20-minute encore, it became clear that Dr. Dog's combination of Beatles influence, roots appeal and Philly soul was exactly what the crowd was looking for. Clad in unnecessary ski caps and playing before the biggest audience yet seen at the festival's main outdoor stage, the band performed songs from across their five full-length album catalog and even a few new ones, with cuts such as "Hang On," "My Friend" and "Die Die Die" ringing especially exuberantly, floating above their large audience's bouncing bodies.

The crowd was very much into the performance -- and why not? With Dr. Dog's six members flailing about the stage and bouncing in time with their music, their offering proved an endearing one. That much was especially true, when, upon the completion of their main set, the band returned to the stage for the 2011 festival's first outdoor encore, encouraged by an especially prolonged outpouring of claps and screams of glee. Here, the band offered up their song "California" -- but with a twist. Rather than singing "California, where the warm sun shines," the band replaced the word "California" with the words "Denton, Texas." The crowd, of course ate it up.

Coupled with an earlier shout-out to Rubber Gloves (where the band last performed in Denton) and a thank you to those organizing the festival, it was clear that the band wanted to make sure its audience felt appreciated.

A simple, time-tested stage move, sure. But, in this case, it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

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