REVIEW: Slaughter Beach, Dog with Cave People at First Unitarian Church

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PHOTO & WRITTEN BY: Aaron Scofield

Fresh off the release of their junior album, Safe and Also No Fear, Slaughter Beach, Dog played the last show of their Summer tour on September 20th at First Unitarian Church. This album marked a new era for the band, known for their acoustic ballads and soft rock sounds, by bringing a more folk-rock sound. This is the most experimental album the band has put out, but it also brings out some of the best in Ewald’s songwriting and musicianship.

The night opened with another Philadelphia band taking the stage, Cave People. Finally reunited with their full band for a hometown show, frontman Dave Tomaine stood alongside two guitarists, bassist Ian Farmer, and drummer Zack Robbins (both Robbins and Farmer also play with Slaughter Beach, Dog). Tomaine thanked the crowd for coming, and said it was nice to be home before launching into “Fair,” which at first would appear to be a pulsing hard rock sound before fading into Tomaine echoing a brief refrain

“I want it easy, Put it right in front of me,

Call it something lovely, Call it anything,

I want you breathing, right in front of me

I want you loving me, I want your everything”

Other songs from Cave People included “Wait,” “Try,” and “Mouth,” all off their 2018 EP, Kingfisher. By touring with Slaughter Beach, Dog, it appears that Tomaine and Cave People have solidified their place in the Philadelphia music scene.  

The basement of the church was swelteringly hot by the time Slaughter Beach, Dog took the stage, and lead singer/guitarist Jake Ewald made sure everyone was hydrated and was looking after those around them before beginning the set. The band began with “One Down,” as a slower intro to the band’s most famous song off of Birdie, “Acolyte.” Almost everyone in the audience knew every word, and echoed Ewald as he sang the chorus. 

I’d say you look tired

Sing, my secret choir

Soak my scrapes and sleep tight

Sing, my brave acolyte”

The band played a good mix of songs from their last two albums, but one of the biggest hits from the night was an unreleased song, “Won’t Be Long.” Though it is likely to be a while before the band releases any new music, it is for sure a song to look forward to. 

The second highlight from the set was the centerpiece of Safe And Also No Fear, “Black Oak.” It is the fourth track on the album, and lasts a whole six minutes and forty-two seconds. The song seems to almost crescendo to the final verse before distorting into an instrumental:

“Somewhere in the static, a disembodied voice

The circumstances changed, she will not have a choice

The line dies, crackles soft, then sputters back to life

‘They found him at the black oak, they dug him up last night’”

Setlist:

  1. One Down
  2. Acolyte
  3. Gold and Green
  4. The Dogs
  5. Good Ones
  6. Sleepwalking
  7. Won’t Be Long
  8. Tangerine
  9. Heart Attack
  10. Map of the Stars
  11. Black Oak
  12. More
  13. Your Cat
  14. Politics of Grooming
  15. Anything
  16. 104 Degrees

Follow Aaron Scofield on Twitter @aaroncscofield

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