What can I say. It'd been a year or more since I'd seen/heard Rat Dog and I was very happy! Still am! The band is tight, jamming and I can't wait 'til tonight's show! Highlights of last night for me were BlackBird, AT A SIDING, which blew my mind--unlike I've ever heard before (and i'm not sure that I have ever heard it before live!), and Take Me to the River! Peace and Love to Bobbie, his band members and crew and fans!
Steven Andronico, Washington, DC
With two nods to the Beatles ("Tomorrow Never Knows," "Blackbird"), two to the blues ("Wang Dang," "Boss Man"), two reggae jams (within "Truckin" and "Uncle Johns"), and favorites throughout, this show had it all. Whole show cooked. "River" provided early set dance grooves. "Senor" was beautifully played, with excellent lighting (can always count on hues of ruby and saphire) adding to the experience. "Lucky" was perfectly played, save for a couple "Bobby blanks," as I like to call them, at the end chorus. Whole second set was some of the best Ratdog this reviewer has ever seen. Zero f*#$ups, lots of heart, grit, and exploration. "Candyman" was all smiles. "Other One" had that rumbling punch we all love-they really took it too "that" level. "Siding>Flyer" was flawlessly executed-so much passion. Crowd was salivating. Just a really fine show. Get the tapes.
Jameson, Annapolis, MD
Awesome show. Robin Sylvester was much more impressive this time. I felt he dropped Phil-worthy bombs all night. Other One was a perfect example of some room shaking bombs. Kenny on touch pads was real trippy which was a plus. Bob's voice sounded oh so good. I could go on about the band members..... Wharf Rat was moving. Other than a little over zealous security once or twice, it was a great time. Can't wait to go back tonight.
Tom, Baltimore, MD
This was a solid "B" show. There were moments where I felt the band was hitting it, but for most of the show I had trouble getting into the evening mood and had trouble focusing and paying attention. I am not sure if it was the band or the crowd, but these things happen. Wharf Rat was great as was Playing in the Band and Take me to the River was a nice treat.
I was really looking forward to hearing Senor, but I was a little disappointed. It seemed that Bobby had trouble hitting the vocals, but again... an OK RatDog show is worlds better then most bands. Looking forward to tonight and hopefully they can kick into that 5th gear that I have seen them do so many times before.
Larry, Washington, DC
It was Tuesday, the first night of a two night run at the 9:30 club. Ratdog had not been here last spring and I was really psyched to see what they had to bring to the table. My friends and I were hoping for some old 9:30 club standards such as "Shakedown Street" "or "Feel Like a Stranger" or possibly "The Music Never Stopped" since the cool breeze came on Tuesday, but were shocked to say the least after the selection of songs that were played that night.
The band started of with an upbeat jam that turned into "Truckin." This was definitely different, but got the crowd rocking right of the start. Then "Wang Dang doodle" snuck in, which is a 9:30 Club standard, but Bobby only played the first verse and then went back into "Truckin." What was going on here? The "Love Supreme" jam followed into a leftover Truckin jam. Did I hear an "Other One" teaser in there somewhere? There must have been some confusion in the dynamics of the band, but the dirt got washed of fwhen Bobby busted out "Take me to the River." This was the highlight of the show for me; what a surprise to hear this song. I have not heard Ratdog do it since the beginnings of the band at the first Furthur Festival. The sharp rhythm structure and Bobbyís vocals really got the crowd into this one; it was flawless. Bobby switched to acoustic and played "Senor." Ratdog usually does a Dylan tune for their third or fourth song and it was a good but slow choice and broke up the upbeat vibe. "Brown Eyed Women" came next and got the crowd back in the grove with a not so strong sing-along. Then the cheesy "Lucky Enough" came and I felt lucky enough they got rid of that one early. "Big Boss Man" punched into the mix, which got the band back on track with the vibe that was lost. A good pick for a work day and lots of audience participation when Bobby sang "work hard in the daytime" and the crowd sang "Sure get stoned at night," and Bobby got wild cheers when he sang, "wonít let Bobby stop." "Tomorrow Never Knows" came in out of nowhere and swept away the weirdo vibe from the beginning of the show, and "Playing in the band" ended the set.
The second set opened with an acoustic jam into a lovely "Blackbird," which then melted into a sweet "Candyman." This was another highlight of the show. It was a first timer for me. Bobby gave it his all on this one from his sustain rhythm comps to his signature yells at the end of the song. "Uncle Johnís Band" came out of "Candyman" and "The Other One" finally exploded into the mix. It was trying to escape in a few of the short jams between the first set songs. It was a hard-core version with a lot of raw energy and Bobby was practically screaming the lyrics. It reminded me of a thunderstorm, very clear and powerful, like you could hear it coming for a while then it finally broke loose and drenched you with liquid sound. "Space" without Bobby came and then "Wharf Rat" that drowned out the vibe once again. An eerie "At A Siding" crept out and was followed by upbeat "Terrapin Flyer" that turned into a "Playing In The Band" reprise that ended the second set. The audience gave the famous "NFA" clap and brought the band out for the encore, which started out to sound like a swanky "Hand Jive" and would be awesome if thatís what it was, but at the last minute turned into "Not Fade Away" that lasted only a short time.
The band was very clean, tight and full of energy, but the selection of songs was strange to veterans of the 9:30 Club. On a good note, Ratdog is always evolving, and maybe they looked back at old setlists of the 9:30 Club and laid down some different selections this time.
Neil Lewis, Stevensville, MD