If you’ve ever wondered whether cities truly care about their citizens, kindly escort yourself to the River House Restaurant Concert Series at Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Prescott Park.
The Concert Series at Prescott Park offers locals and travelers alike the chance to see reputable folk, singer/songwriter, soul, jazz, and/or alternative artists for nothing more than an optional donation. Just as important as the talent however, is the venue. The park’s scenic landscape is nestled in the corner of Portsmouth right next to the Atlantic harbor, offering a consistently beautiful skyline and welcoming coastal breeze to its neighboring live performances time and time again. It’s the perfect venue for a summer night – a place where you feel like the earth generously granted its constituents a few extra hours of daylight in a selfless act of musical benevolence. As singer Toby Leaman so accurately described around 8:30pm in the middle of Dr. Dog’s uncharacteristically sun-drenched set, “The sun will go down, it does every night, I assure you.”
True to Leaman’s words of wisdom, Dr. Dog made sure to squeeze every ounce of daylight out of their oddly early 7:30pm start time. The crowd expressed collective uneasiness that the set would end similarly early, but the band’s 27 song, 2+ hour setlist put any of that doubt to bed. Their music was steady, agreeable, and perfect for the hundreds of lawn chairs and blankets strewed across the park. Most of Dr. Dog’s bluesy songs gave a voice to the crowd’s wayward souls – the upbeat tempo, melancholy lyrics, and dual-faceted harmonies bridged a very necessary gap between sentiment and positivity. Despite that the locals may not be familiar with some or all of Dr. Dog’s 27 songs, they were all easy to learn. Dr. Dog would often spend more time on their choruses than on their verses, offering up double or triple the amount of chances for a willing crowd to memorize the refrain and sing along by the end. Still, the band had an obvious disconnect between the old and the new. Their old songs seemed fun to both the band and crowd, sparking a much higher energy and dance rate among the collective. Their new songs however, seemed like rehearsed checkboxes that they were ticking in a required attempt to promote their latest content. Nonetheless, Dr. Dog built their set on amusing togetherness. They garnered an unconventionally large crowd to dance in front of center stage, and while the dancing lasted a lot longer than expected, fans could be heard yelling towards the end of their set “we won’t leave if you don’t!”
Below is a playlist showcasing the full setlist performed by Dr. Dog at Prescott Park.
Best Live Tracks: Heart It Races, Shadow People, How Long Must I Wait, I Only Wear Blue, Lonesome, Where’d All The Time Go?