Dr. Dog & Son Little Cure The Sunday Scaries At The Palace Theater


The Sunday Scaries. If you haven’t experienced the Sunday Scaries then well, you’re probably a very well adjusted adult or perhaps under the age of 18 with no real sense of responsibility. But the internet defines the Sunday Scaries as “ the anxiety that sets in on Sunday nights with the impending return to the office, school, or work. Whether you call them The Sunday Scaries, The Sunday Blues, The Fear, The Shakes, The Dread – they’re there.” Most of us are all too familiar with the impending doom of Monday that always seems to creep up on Sunday afternoon. But what I’ve discovered is the best cure for the Sunday Scaries – a concert. There’s really no better way to milk every last drop of the weekend than with some great live music, maybe an adult beverage or two, and a gorgeous venue like The Palace Theater.

The Sunday Scaries hung thick in the air this weekend coming down after a gorgeous, summer-like weekend in the Twin Cities. But Dr. Dog’s Critical Equation Tour, with support from Son Little, was the perfect way to shake the Sunday Scaries in St. Paul this weekend.  Though there were still tickets for sale at the door, The Palace was already filling up by the time i showed up around 8:00 pm and music lovers from all over the Twin Cities were ready to shake their weekend-ending blues.

Speaking of blues – opening up the evening was Philadelphia-based rhythm & blues artist Son Little. Aaron Earl Livingston, better known as Son Little, brought all the feel-good, Americana-inspired blues/rock to The Palace on Sunday. From the moment I stepped foot in the gorgeous auditorium of the Palace, I was immediately struck with the buttery smooth, yet soulful and gritty voice of Son Little. Livingston has one of those voices you just want to get lost in for a while – and that’s just what the crowd at The Palace got to do on Sunday. Son Little took the crowd on a journey through highlights from the bands’ discography – which navigates all the good stuff – love, loss and well life. It’s easy to get lost in the lyrics of Son Little – which feel like pages from Son Little’s private journal. “Now what am I supposed to do about a flood, when it comes? And what am I supposed to do if I don’t know, what to know? What if every single candle has burned out? And if each and every fear has come about,” he sings on About A Flood.

It’s easy to list off comparisons when describing an artist you’re not as familiar with, but I don’t want to reduce Son Little to comparisons. What Son Little brought to The Palace on Sunday night was both fresh and familiar. There was a familiarity and comfort with the soulful, blues sound of Son Little and band but there was also a newness in their use of technology (vocal effects, etc). So although I don’t want to compare Son Little to anyone, I’ll say fans of everyone from Childish Gambino to Gary Clark Jr. to Sam Cooke could find something to love from Son Little. And though his set was just 4o minutes, it was clear Son Little made some new friends (and helped cure the Sunday Scaries) at The Palace this weekend.

Headlining the evening of course was fellow Philadelphians – Dr. Dog. Though Dr. Dog has seen some changes of band members over the years, frontmen and founding members Toby Leaman (bass guitar) and  Scott McMicken (lead guitar) are still the formational piece of Dr. Dog. Taking cues from the greats (eh hem, The Beatles) both Leaman and McMicken share the duties of lead vocals with the entire band contributing vocals. The result of this vocal melting pot that is Dr. Dog is harmonies that are silky smooth. And those harmonies were on full display at the Palace on Sunday. From the first moment Leamna and McMicken opened their mouths, they had the crowd erupting in cheers and singing along. Dr. Dog is one of those bands that can sometimes fly under the radar, but it’s evident they’ve got some super fans. And watching them live – it’s evident why. Dr. Dog, like Son Little, is solid, down-home, feel good, Americana rock. But they do it in a way that is so unique and distinct, it feels like in injustice to reduce them to comparisons. Leaman and McMicken bring something so unique with their vocals and showmanship to the live Dr. Dog’s sets that really feel unlike so much else out there in the world of popular music.

Dr. Dog is currently touring in support of their new album Critical Equation. Their set featured a handful of tracks from the new album including the title track as well as Go Out Fighting. But Dr. Dog didn’t deny the crowd a few classics including the Lonely Hearts Club anthem Lonesome and of course closing out their set with their iconic cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s  Heart It Races (full setlist below).

So although the Sunday Scaries were thick in the air this weekend in the Twin Cities, thanks to Dr. Dog and Son Little Monday felt a little further away with their amazing evening of music at the gorgeous Palace Theater. The Critical Equation Tour continues on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

Setlist: Survive / Go Out Fighting / Shadow People / Buzzing in the Light / Lonesome / Heavy Light / Ladada / Listening In / Army of Ancients / The Breeze / Under the Wheels / Peace of Mind / Broken Heart / Coming out of the Darkness / Nellie / That Old Black Hole / These Days / Critical Equation / Encore: / Heart Killer / Bring My Baby Back / Jackie Wants a Black Eye / Heart It Races (Architecture in Helsinki cover)