Review | Psychic Dog @ The Middle East Downstairs

Psychic Dog at the Middle East Downstairs
photo: Matt LeBel

Saturday night was a veritable explosion of local bands at the Middle East Downstairs for the big Robby Roadsteamer comeback show, and I’m going to tell you about one of them. Psychic Dog is a Boston rock and roll machine that is powered by beer and beards. It’s a 3-piece, made up of guys who know what they’re doing, being veterans of other bands in the area (contains half of the dearly departed Hookerclops and one ex-OTPer). I appreciate that this band does not waste the talents of any of its members – while the songs mostly issue from the mouth of Dug McCormack (guitars), the other two gentlemen get their shot at singing too, and it so happens that another of my favorites of theirs right now is one that Kevin Kupillas (drums) sings, “60 Days.” That’s right, they gave their drummer a microphone! Bassist and no-longer-secret weapon Jared Dew also gets to sing songs, which I enjoy a great deal too.

I am having a tough time not drawing parallels all the time with Hookerclops, because I was literally married to that band being as my husband was in it, so I’m just going to drop all pretense and talk about Psychic Dog in the context of Hookerclops. When a band forks into 2 new bands, you really get an idea of what each party brought to the table. One thing you can really tell Dug is into is closing with a long song that devolves into a cacophony of sound, where he gets to give his pedals a workout. Hookerclops had such a song; Psychic Dog does too, and in both cases its job is to close out the set. Another thing I noticed is that as usual, Dug was – almost! – the only person the whole evening to remember the names of, and thank, all the other bands playing. One other person in another band matched that level of commitment and even that much is unusual. So support someone who supports their scene, and go see a show! That won’t be hard because they play pretty much constantly.

If you want to get an idea for yourself before going out to see them, check out their debut album, Big and Lonely, which is only a couple months old, so really it’s an adorable infant of a record. Hold it in your arms yourself here.