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Review: Dogcatcher and Ben Henderson at San Pedro Square Market

In Music
Dogcatcher at San Pedro Square Market. // Photo by Ian Healy.

Dogcatcher at San Pedro Square Market. // Photo by Ian Healy.

There were so many different slices of San Jose’s nightlife present at San Pedro Square Market this past Saturday night. It wasn’t just because it was Save Alternative’s Daydream Nation’s kickoff show. Really, it was just the perfect venue for Saturday’s show.

There were different rooms for different people—a bar for people looking to hook up, a patio outside for friends wanting to hang out and chat, a place to eat for families and couples and of course a cozy spot to watch the bands. Everyone could hang out together under one roof and get exactly what they wanted. Since everybody seems to be hanging out at San Pedro Square anyway, hopefully they will be doing a whole lot more shows like this there in the future.

Ben Henderson was the main support for the concert. He put on yet another amazing show, performing most songs just him and his guitar, though he had the occasional accompaniment of a backing vocalist, a banjo player and a drummer on two songs. Henderson’s voice has gotten so fierce in the past year and a half that he can command a crowd all alone just as well, if not better, than a four piece rock band. This was Henderson’s farewell show before hitting the road for a month where he will be playing all over the country without a backing band, which explains the decision for him to not bring a full band to the San Pedro Square Market. He wanted to try his act out on a hometown crowd first.

The headliners, Dogcatcher, played a laidback blend of soul, jazz and melodic indie rock. When I interviewed them a few weeks ago they told me that they were a “rhythm section oriented band,” something not apparent on their folksy debut album, KILR, but live, it was crystal clear, this is a band that likes to groove. Even the songs on KILR were reworked to give it a dancey edge. The bass and drums locked into a solid groove while the guitar and organ layered sounds and harmonies over the top. Andrew Heine’s breathy vocals and introspective lyrics were the final touch, creating something artful and original.

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