I started listening to the All Dogs album, Kicking Every Day, about twenty-four hours prior to their performance. It was all I listened to for the twenty-four hours prior to their performance. I wasn’t privy to the existence of the Ohio band until I had heard about their scheduled show. I’m not sure I would have found the band any other way, and it felt like divine synchronicity. I, like many of my fellow Wes students, weighed my weekend concert options via quick visits to bandcamp pages to see if anything grabbed me. Turns out, All Dogs was exactly what I needed.
I waited for their set to start in the mostly-empty Earth House, and watched the band set up their equipment. That's something I like most about small shows—no smoke and mirrors. It was the perfect venue to listen to a band whose songs are so tuned in to my own anxieties and sensibilities. It is easy to forget how extraordinary it is to watch a group of friends make music that they love together because this experience is commonplace at Wesleyan, but I was ultra-aware of this intimacy as I awaited the first show of All Dogs’ tour. A few distorted guitar strums drew the audience together, and the room started to fill out during the first song.
All Dogs is loud without being aggressive. Their music is sweet without being mellow. This balance can be attributed to the lead singer, Maryn Jones, whose voice is honest and full of something magical that carries it above the fuzzy-noise that she and her fellow-band mates produce. At some point in the set, she urged us all to step a little closer. We crowded in, bobbed our heads, tapped out feet. Despite being in a tiny room, their music felt big. Although the lyrics are deeply confessional, they feel inclusive and relatable. In “Black Hole”, Jones sings, “I am a black hole, / everything I touch / turns to dust”. In “That Kind of Girl”, she admits to “always fucking up your world”. These lyrics read as self-deprecating and anxiety-ridden, yet the delivery clues into a kind of confidence. Muddled feelings match perfectly with the music: energetic drumming, fuzzy riffs, overdrive, overdrive, overdrive. The band also knows how to slow it down—letting the drums drop out without ever loosing the grungy sound. The set passed quickly, and the band started to pack up after a quick “thank you". I walked back to my dorm in the muggy November weather, grateful that I got to kick off my Homecoming Weekend with some raw angst and string lights at Earth House.
If you missed the show, listen to “That Kind of Girl”, “Black Hole”, and “Leading Me Back to You” to fall in love and then catch the band when they open up for Frankie Cosmos on Monday at The Space in Hamden, CT.
~Megan West '19