Dr. Dog sells out on Alaskan tour

Annie Bartholomew/Sun Star
September 11, 2012

Students were turned away from the doors this Saturday night at Dr. Dog’s sold out performance at the UAF Pub on Sept. 8.  The 250 person venue was filled to capacity to welcome the Philadelphia-based band on their first Alaskan tour.

The self-described “musicians’ band” has toured with alternative-rock heavyweights Wilco, My Morning Jacket and the Raconteurs. Dr. Dog  is used performing to crowds as large as  4,000 people and as small as the Bear Tooth Theatre Pub in Anchorage. “I was shocked at how well we did in Anchorage, having never been up here before,” said Toby Leaman, Dr. Dogs frontman and songwriter.

The UAF Concert Board and ASUAF funded the program which brings performing arts acts to campus, and saw an opportunity to bring Dr. Dog to Fairbanks after their Anchorage show.

The UAF Concert Board presents Dr. Dog in the UAF Pub on Sep. 8, 2012. Annie Bartholomew/Sun Star

“We’d be absolute idiots if we didn’t get them up here – they’re so close,” said Brady Gross, Concert Board member. “They’re a band that’s geared towards an independent college sound that really enjoys seeing people dance.”

Outside the Pub doors, a line of people extended into the Wood Center with excited students still in disbelief that their favorite band was playing the Pub. “There must be another Dr. Dog!” said Jen Popa, an English instructor and graduate student UAF.

The opening act, Sweating Honey, performed their last show together as a band before their departure for the lower 48. Sweating Honey got their start at UAF after winning Battle of the Bands at the Hess Recreation Center in 1999. “Over the years it’s been good to come back to the university,” said Luke Beckel, Sweating Honey founder.

Dr. Dog gave the Pub stage a makeover with unusual decor found in the Pub’s backroom storage area. Colored lights and Halloween swag gave the band an orange glow while they started their first song while eager fans rushed the stage.

Cheers and screams set the stage for the song ‘Alaska’ after Toby Leaman announced, “This is no-brainer for tonight’s set list.” The rarely played song was written for Leaman’s brother when we worked in Dutch Harbor. During the song‘Old Days,’ the once polite crowd turned into a giggling mosh pit of students, laughing and dancing through the last song.  After a stubborn two minutes of clapping, Dr. Dog finally emerged from The Pub storage closet with a surprise of ten inflatable beach balls they threw into the audience.  Students climbed onto the shoulders of their peers and crowd surfing ensued within the unlikely indie audience.

“The band just played with so much energy! They were having a good time, the crowd was having a good time. It was a good time for UAF,” said Nick Konemal, a mechanical engineering major.

KSUA had a take out session with Sweating Honey, who opened up for Dr. Dog on Saturday night.

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