Published Dec 09, 2013Dog Day's new album Fade Out isn't a huge leap forward for the Halifax-based band, but it might be their best record, marrying a taste for raw, earworm-ridden garage rock with a shoegazer's sensibility. Such a sound wouldn't be possible live without a little more sonic heft, so, during their album launch at Halifax's Marquee Club Saturday night, husband-and-wife pair Seth Smith and Nancy Urich brought along some help.
Smith and Urich stripped down to a duo for 2011's Deformer, with Urich on drums. While those shows had a welcome kinetic energy that translated to the crowds — mosh pits were common — Saturday's show felt like a more realized version of the band's spirit. Inviting local stalwarts Mark Grundy (Quaker Parents) and Seamus Dalton (Monomyth) to take over rhythm section duties, the songs take on a different tone. It's a more widescreen style of garage rock, adding a dose of subtle and a pinch of swoon. Even elemental Deformer tracks like "Eurozone" and "Part Girl" gained scope, albeit mostly with an extra layer of noise.
As for the new material, the band performed Fade Out toe-tappers with ample noise and confidence. Low on words as usual, the band focused on delivering songs like "Wasted" and "Get High" with a driving, focused energy. Sometimes, there was perhaps a bit too much energy: songs like "Dirtbag" and the album-closing "Before Us" never found their way in the set, and even with the extra instrumentation the band's softer nuances, so prominent on the record, didn't quite translate live. Still, all things considered, it was hard to argue with the success of Dog Day's expanded lineup.
Openers Cold Warps and Psychic Fair fit right in alongside Dog Day in delivering dependably hooky, noisy guitar rock. The manic performance of Cold Warps' vocalist Paul Hammond is an acquired taste, but seemed particularly on-point Saturday night, and as for Psychic Fair, the new outfit featuring Superfriendz' Charles Austin, the catchy set offered plenty to look forward to from the band's forthcoming album, Bees on Ice.