Dog Fashion Disco
Mojoes, Joliet 06/08/14
Reviewer Dan Scheiman
Dog Fashion Disco, though transitioning as a band with new members and record labels over the years, have kept a solid and undying fan base. After seeing their work live, I can fully understand how this band has acquired so many superfans over the years. With limited knowledge of what I was walking into, I can say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. This was easily one of the most exciting and entertaining shows I’ve ever seen.
Filling nearly the entire stage with all 6 members, the band’s presence was immediately noticed and respected by the crowd. “DFD,” as their fans refer to them, came out with smiles but a n intense look of focus. Everyone was nearly silent for the sound check, anticipating the madness that was to come. Each member was dressed in shorts, a short sleeved dress shirt, a tie, and tennis shoes. Alongside them was a double banner of a terrifying clown with an M16 and behind them another of a fiercely growling wolf.
As the show began, the crowd immediately started cheering with an almost psychotic and obsessive tone. More than half of them were chanting every lyric and dancing as soon as the show began. Vocalist and founder Todd Smith seemed humbled yet unimpressed by the crowd’s response, so he decided to split the crowd into 2 large groups and have them stare each other down just before the second song began. This idea seemed to work beautifully since the crowd’s energy doubled after the first track. At this point the entire crowd was either dancing or enthralled in the start of a solid mosh pit. Shortly after realizing just how contagious this bands energy was I noticed that not only the singer but the guitarist was IN the crowd too. Todd quite literally used his fans as stepping stones to get on top of the crowd and continue singing.
To give some description on the schizophrenic sound that this band portrays, you would need to create a collaboration of a handful of bands. I noticed some heavy influence from what could be Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, earlier System of a Down, and even Snot, for those who may remember them. These guys can legitimately do it all, ranging from jazz and funk to punk and metal. I’ve never witnessed such fluid versatility at a live show. Within one track they would transition from a polka beat with a menacing horn part behind it, directly to a driving punk rhythm with a ballpark-like organ droning over the top. To be clear, this band is not just mashing together random genres and obscure musical combinations. Every member of this band clearly has a strong understanding of their instrument and a skill set that is capable of playing any type of music that could be asked of them. There is no shortage of talent here.
Easily my favorite song of the set was Magic Band of Fools. Starting off with a brilliant and very tight funk riff, the crowd was digging every bit of the groove. Just as it seemed like we were going to get a break from the abrasive and filthy side of DFD, the funk broke into an insanely heavy part where the whole band looked as if they were in physical pain just playing it. The entire crowd went from busting a move to busting each others faces in a new and even bigger pit. After a few more ups and downs, the chaos subsided and the crowd cheered, then embraced one another as if they were glad to find out everyone made it out of that song alive. They were only given a moment to reflect before they were assaulted again…
Beyond being what almost seemed like too much for the crowd to handle, this band radiates a level of energy that would be nearly impossible to match without being at least a little out of your mind. Most importantly, judging by the raised eyebrows, giggles, and smirks between band members throughout the set, this band is clearly very tight and have an understanding amongst themselves that is rarely seen anymore in music. They were clearly enjoying every second of the show just as much, if not more, than the rest of the fans. There was even one instance when the keyboardist was glaring directly at the sax player with a deviously hilarious face just long enough to make him laugh in the middle of his part. Between that type of childlike antics, the incredible dance moves, and the maddening metal riffage, this band is worth every ounce of your attention next time they come to town.