Welcomed home by a full pink moon that rose slowly over the Atlantic Ocean to mark the convergence of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan, Dogs In A Pile returned to the famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ with much to celebrate. The band just completed their first national tour and is already waist-deep into the production of their second album, while their eager fanbase known as the #DogPound packed into the familiar confines of one of the East Coast’s most storied venues, gobbling up nearly 1,000 tickets and leaving many fans to scramble for entry on aftermarket tickets sites like Stubhub, a notable first-time occurrence for the surging local favorites.
After a spirited opening set by local compatriot and rising American Idol contestant Cole Hallman, the hometown boys would settle into an easy groove that never let up. The boisterous crowd exploded early and often as they sang along with Brian Murray’s lyrics “I hear the Dogs are back in town!” on “Can’t Wait For Tonight”.
Following “Little Things”, Dogs would invite Mr. Hallman back to the stage for lead vocals on a cover of The Band’s “Ophelia” that saw keyboardist Jeremy Kaplan delight the fans on the melodica. Catalog staples “Blues For Brian” and “G Song” preceded recent addition “Today”, replete with swampy bass from Sam Lucid that conjured reggae vibes most appropriate for the oceanfront homecoming. “Hesitate” would then debut with a reworked chorus before a “Bubble” for the ages, noticeably edgier than usual with its inclusion of “EDM Song”.
Dogs In A Pile – The Stone Pony – Asbury Park, NJ – 4/16/22 – Set One
[Video: Half Step]
Easily one of my favorite sets of music of the year, the second was one for the record books. “Tillie”, named for the grinning cartoon mural that has become the face of Asbury Park, would open the second frame. The band picked up where they left off before the break with Sam Lucid slinging some serious low-end funk as the band segued into “Look Johnny”.
Dogs In A Pile – “Look Johnny” – 4/16/22
Jimmy Law’s star was shining bright, too–as it always does–and he dazzled with incendiary solos and lightning-fast vocals that conjured a momentary image of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Anthony Kiedis as the band blazed through “Fenway”. A mature debut of “All The Same” put the band’s songwriting prowess on display before “Spun”, “Trunk Rum”, and “Renaissance Man” closed the blazing set with a bang.
Dogs In A Pile – “All The Same” – 4/16/22
This night was anything but “One More Saturday Night” and Dogs In A Pile would blow through the soft midnight curfew with a three-song encore that took the show well beyond the three-hour mark as they paid tribute to one one of their most formative influences with a unique cover of the Grateful Dead. Sadly all good things must end, and it was now Sunday as Dogs welcomed road manager Kieran Tooker for lead vocals on his namesake debut “Tookin’ Around” which sent the room into a tizzy.
Musically, there’s no match for a band having fun and while I can challenge my brain to come up with as many ways as possible to restate the word *fun*, that’s the story for Dogs In A Pile. A young band with a rabid fan base, controlled rowdiness with the hippie harmony is their magic. Imagine if the Red Hot Chili Peppers were a jam band and Studio 54 was in the Haight Ashbury and you can begin to picture what Dogs In A Pile’s homecoming at The Stone Pony felt like.
In collaboration with Backline Vinyl, the band will release both the entire show and select artist cuts to vinyl. With a midnight day-of-show deadline for purchase and not wanting to miss out, I entered my credit card information at 11:59 p.m. with nary a minute to spare. Dogs In A Pile wrote a page in their history books on Saturday night, and look for this limited run of vinyl to commemorate a special memory.
Dogs In A Pile’s next show is a Phish after-party this coming Saturday at Hill Country BBQ in New York City. Ticketing information can be found here. Check out a slideshow of images from Saturday courtesy of photographer Ron Adelberg.
Setlist: Dogs In A Pile | The Stone Pony | Asbury Park, NJ | 4/16/22
Set One: Can’t Wait For Tonight, Little Things, Ophelia (1), Blues For Brian, G Song, Today, Hesitate (2) > Bubble (3)
Set Two: Tillie > Look Johnny, Stranger, Fenway, Bent Strange, All The Same (4), Spun > Trunk Rum, Renaissance Man
Encore: Say Something, One More Saturday Night (5), Tookin’ Around (6)
(1) The Band, with Cole Hallman
(2) FTP with new chorus
(3) W/ EDM Song & Metal part
(5) Grateful Dead
(6) FTP, with Kieran Tooker