There’s been a lot of A&R types sniffing around the Neighborhood Dogs, and this time, they’re definitely barking up the right tree.
The Dogs, fronted by actress Carrie Hamilton (Carol Burnett’s daughter) romped through a memorable, fluid six-song set of commercial rock with grace and street-level, hard-edged cool. Though the band hasn’t been together long, you wouldn’t know it from the cohesiveness and polish to their material and performace.
Comparisons? A cooler Patty Smyth (remember Scandal?), or perhaps a rock-ier Bonnie Raitt. But the Neighborhood Dogs are foremost a band, and have a signature sound that will only improve with age and experience. Accessible and melodic, yet never wimpy or generic, a wise record company would do well to collar them.
This latenight set was short but powerful. Apache’s poignant pedal steel guitar work opened the show on an auspicious note, but it was Hamilton’s throaty , powerful and sensual voice that carried their strong material.
It was at mid-set where the band shone. “Livin’ in a World Without You,” with its punchy chorus and tough edge, sounds hit-bound, while the slower tempo and strong backing vocals of “Different God” was also impressive. Incense burning in front of the stage added to the psychadelic feel of the spare, Cowboy Junkie-esque “Daddy’s Girl,” while the evocative, moody, yet hard-hitting “Broken People” was also memorable.
Hamilton’s voice and presence has depth and wide range; by turns haunting, earthy and expressive. Her low-key, tattoos and jeans persona works well with the Dogs’ gritty rock image.
The band is a perfect foil for Hamilton–the at-times raucous guitar interplay between Apache (a former member of Geffen Records’ act Little Caesar) and Molinare (a current member of same) rocks hard, and the heavy grooves of the rhythm section thunder, yet never overpower the vocals.