What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Teeth
Orlando, Fl • February 26, 2007
It takes a true music fan to head downtown on a Monday night. The streets were empty save for a few panhandlers, yet the inside of The Social had a welcoming number of faithfuls who raised a finger to the concept of getting a good night’s sleep before work or school the next morning and came out anyway. The last we saw Dr. Dog in these parts was last fall opening for The Raconteurs. Now they’re back – headlining this time – and about to put out their Park The Van Records debut, the full-length We All Belong.
The Teeth , a fantastically fun Philly band with an odd name, opened the night and turned my attention to full-on within seconds. Twin brothers Peter and Aaron Modavis share vocal duties in this Kinks-meets-early-Beatles-inspired project, and the energy that comes out is nothing short of captivating.
On second thought, The Teeth is not a strange band name, What Made Milwaukee Famous is. Are they named after the Jerry Lee Lewis song? I’m assuming so, because they ain’t from Milwaukee (far from it, they’re from Austin, Texas). Swallowing down a name like that meant grabbing another beer. Once that was in me, the band’s opening pair of songs sounded not half bad – but not great. Then, like a good buzz that takes a bit to sink in, they hit their stride, and their indie pop/garage rock jams (“Sweet Lady” is a must listen) became not only palatable but applause worthy. Drummer Jeremy Bruch is the backbone to this band, not only for the driving rhythm but for his constant goofy grin – he looked like he was having the time of his life.
Dr. Dog is that band whose name you keep stumbling across, but you’ve never heard a note. You’ve seen their name in concert listings, and in small blurbs in magazines, maybe a friend told you that you should check them out, but you haven’t… They are the band just at the edge of your vision, and it’s time to turn your head and focus because they are cut from the cloth of musicians who actually play because they love it, not because they want to see their face on the cover of Rolling Stone. They don’t look like anyone else, they don’t sound like anyone else, and they don’t pretend to be anything but a bunch of guys who play music.
Spending the hours before their set time chillin’ at the bar, watching the openers, the boys from Philly (Pennsylvania would have been proud tonight) made the out of town club their hometown bar. There’s no pretense with this band, and no gimmick. They play ’60s- and ’70s-sounding rock ‘n’ roll that hints at a lot of late night spins of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Band infused with ’90s Indie Rock culture. Duel vocalists Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken are the yin and yang of the band – one (Leaman) has an aggressive howl and carries a Pavement vibe, the other (McMicken) wears plastic sunglasses and a large hat that make him look, as well as sound, a tad bit Dylan. Their conflicting styles add to the psychedelic feeling their music invokes.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to discover Dr. Dog.