Often, describing musicians who were previously involved in the emo or punk scene as “maturing” is as good as writing their obituary as a band. Although Slaughter Beach, Dog is independent of Modern Baseball, they clearly rose from their ashes and even contain half of Modern Baseball’s former members. Although it took two albums, Slaughter Beach, Dog has successfully shed all of its former emo-pop sounds and is starting to come into its own, although their new sound is nearly impossible to describe.
The show opened with Cave People, who began with a poem by a recently departed friend that was supposed to go on this tour with them. Their music ended up being pleasant, and it was the perfect opener for Slaughter Beach Dog. Also, Cave People performed with half of Slaughter Beach Dog’s members, which is also a quarter of Modern Baseball, if we’re keeping score.
Lead singer Jake Ewald proved once again to be one of the more entertaining live acts in the Indie scene. The entirety of Slaughter Beach, Dog’s discography reflects his personality, and his stage presence is an extension of this. He held conversations with the audience, at one point talking about the crickets outside at the Haunt before telling everyone he’s from Philadelphia and only knows cockroaches.
“Your Cat” was the clear favorite of the night. This is one of the standouts of Slaughter Beach, Dog’s discography and seeing it live was amazing. The lyric “I’ll make it through this if it kills me / And when it kills me I’ll come back / Jesus will make me a disciple / Or maybe he’ll let me be your cat” is one of my favorite lyrics of all time, and hearing it live gave me chills.
Both Cave People and Slaughter Beach, Dog had some of the best live sounds I’ve heard at the Haunt, especially without any major sound effects. Whoever the sound tech was for this show deserves a promotion. Every instrument was perfectly audible with no instrument overpowering any other, to the point that you could even see why bassist Ian Farmer was vibing so hard the entire show. This made some of Slaughter Beach, Dog’s groove sections feel like you were getting hit with a wall of sound.
Usually when you see a band in their “maturing” phase, you expect a rather tepid concert that’s more focused on showing their progression than in getting a rise out of the audience. For Slaughter Beach, Dog, just the opposite happened. Tracks like “Black Oak” and “104 Degrees” showed everyone that they rip way harder than you expect. “104 Degrees” in particular was the best, as it was the song that closed the night and it ended with every member performing their absolute heart out during a five minute groove section.
Slaughter Beach, Dog’s live performance was enough to make me reconsider my opinion on their latest album, Safe and Also No Fear. I was originally lukewarm on it, feeling as though it had potential to be a great album but I often felt that the album was too quiet and the lyrics went over my head. While I still don’t understand the lyrics — “Black Oak” in particular — their concert showed that the album has a sound far more powerful than I first perceived. The emphasis that they placed on certain sections, such as in opener “One Down” showed that this album is far better than I thought.
Daniel Moran is a junior in the College of Human Ecology. He is currently serving as the assistant arts and entertainment editor on The Sun’s editorial board. He can be reached at [email protected].