Dogs In A Pile | Bluebird Theater | 2/16 & 2/17/2024

Article Contributed by Kevin Negron | Published on Thursday, February 22, 2024

Dogs. So hot right now. Readily apparent by another pair of sold-out shows. This time at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO. The sellouts mark the third and fourth of the year out of seven headlining shows thus far. Coming off a mini-tour in the Midwest opening for Andy Frasco & The U.N., Dogs In A Pile (DIAP) landed back in the Centennial State – a place they’ve heavily familiarized themselves with over the past year. DIAP spent about a month in Colorado last year building towards leveling up in the state’s capital. Playing four consecutive weekly shows in March/April 2023 at the 75-cap Lost Lake Lounge clearly spread the word about the band as they packed Bluebird’s 550-cap room over the span of two rocking nights.

Continuing a newly minted tradition curated by the band and some of their closest supporters, pre-show meetups occurred before each gig. Perhaps none more special (so far) than the official “Dog Pound West” meetup at the Mercury Cafe. Familiar faces from DIAP’s native New Jersey, Garden State transplants who had moved to CO, traveling fans from Louisville and Seattle, and new fans alike – there was one thing they all had in common: an ear-to-ear smile at the event.

“From the sandy shores of New Jersey to the snowy mountains of Colorado – we are in the process of creating the biggest family ever. For a band that is still developing, still learning, still growing. All of it. The future is bright. We are going to take over the entire country”, said longtime DIAP family friend and event organizer Nik Lopomo.

music, vending, food and drinks before the show

With live music (complete with sit-ins by some of the members of the Dogs and Nashville bluegrass outfit Sicard Hollow), merch vendors, and food and drink, the well-attended gathering was an exercise in watching something come to life in real-time – a nationwide fanbase and culture unique to Dogs In A Pile.

Another sign of the rolling ball of momentum for the Dogs, a premier opening band. Local but rising prog-rock jam group Squeaky Feet started Friday and Saturday with a few heavy instrumental sets to establish the energy and tone for the weekend.

A reference to the snowy and frigid weather on night one, “Frosty” appropriately opened the Dogs first set. The surefire energizer bunny of a tune “Look Johnny II” came next – a bluegrass-infused number that allows each member of the band to warm up their pickin’ fingers. The reliable “G Song” led into the biggest bust out of the night “Boogie on Reggae Woman” (19 shows). Guitarist Jimmy Law sent the crowd into a blissful frenzy during the peak of “Fenway” – a cut from their second studio album Bloom. They expertly weaved through multiple tempo changes during a melty “Gumball”, led by DIAP’s synth and effect maestro keyboardist Jeremy Kaplan. The ending of “Thomas Duncan, Pt. 2” put a triumphant stamp on a successful initial set.

Sam Lucid  | Dogs In A Pile | Denver, Colorado

A “Blues for Brian” (at the BLUEbird Theater!) with a patient jam layered by guitarist Brian Murray’s signature tone, a psychedelic but hard rock-charged cover of “Magic Carpet Ride”, and a standout “Look Johnny” highlighted the second set. The band ended the night with their rendition of “No Quarter” in the encore slot.

“Bluebird thank you guys so much for joining us this second evening if you are returning. If not, welcome. We love Denver so much!”, said Law to begin the sequel to night one. The proof was in the pudding as many familiar faces locked down the same spots in the venue as they had 24 hours prior.

Nick Gerlach sitting in with the Dogs

Night two featured special appearances in the first set, Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast (interview with DIAP from 2022 here) co-host and musician Nick Gerlach added a wonderful saxophone to the jazzy “My Disguise” (video here) while the soulful voice of Sam Walker from the Denver-based Clay Street Unit complemented a wicked rendition of “Whipping Post”.

Dogs In A Pile | Bluebird Theater

A contender for the strongest set of the weekend, a second set-opening “Samba for Sam” showcased drummer Joey Babick’s ability to switch playing styles on a dime. Kaplan’s trumpet belted out something you would think to hear at a running of the bulls as bassist Sam Lucid put on his punk rock vocal hat to get the attendees moshing to “Por Que Pedro”. Lucid, a versatile songwriter, brought a hush over the crowd during a 71-show bustout of ballad “Lucia’s Secret” – a lyrical testament to destructive tendencies and wild nights.

Dogs In A Pile | Denver, CO

An extremely rare and third-time-played “Cassidy” continued to exemplify the star power that Jimmy Law is cultivating with his on-stage presence, taking on some of the most beloved tunes from Grateful Dead’s timeless catalog. “Craig and Pat”, a whimsical jam vehicle, managed to culminate in a “Run Like An Antelope” tease that many a Phish fan cheered for.

Brian Murray | DIAP | Bluebird Theater

If only to exhibit DIAP’s embarrassment of talented riches, “Thomas Duncan Pt. 3” and “Bugle on the Shelf” put the spotlight on Brian Murray to close out the set. Both songs feature the Long Island, NY native heavily on vocals and solos. With the former having a catchy chorus for all to sing. “La da da da, da da da” and the latter causing the theater to quiet so much before its brooding ending that you could hear a pin drop.

Dogs In A Pile | Bluebird Theater

2023 – Lost Lake Lounge. 2024 – Bluebird Theater. 2025? If the weekend in Denver was evidence of anything, Colorado natives and traveling fans will be sure to come out in droves for whatever comes next for the Asbury Park quintet.

A full pro-shot of the first night of the run is available on the band’s YouTube channel here. The Dogs will have a week off to rest their bones before a two-night run on March 1 and 2 at Colony in Woodstock, NY.