Slaughter Beach, Dog Free at Noon - 10.27.2023

Slaughter Beach Dog is all set to grace the stage at The Fillmore on November 18th. However, just before their much-anticipated performance closer to the Delaware Water Gap, they treated Philadelphia’s west side to an unforgettable show as part of WXPN’s Free at Noon this Friday.

WXPN’s “Artists to Watch” this month attracted a diverse crowd of music enthusiasts, ranging from seasoned old souls to children experiencing the magic of live music for the first time, and everyone in between. Slaughter Beach, Dog is certainly no stranger to Philadelphia; they introduced themselves as a hometown act at the beginning of their set. With half of the band members hailing from Philly, they embody the character and artistry that the city nurtures in its musicians.

Their performance kicked off with “My Sister in Jesus Christ,” from their latest album, Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling. This track is a playful gem on the record, featuring bluegrass-style microtonal riffs layered over harmonious keyboard notes. “Strange Weather,” on the other hand, is a more laid-back song that transports you to a porch jam session in the countryside. Slaughter Beach, Dog crafted a distinctive sonic landscape on stage, blending 70s-style tones from keyboardist Logan Roth with smooth chord progressions and mellow drum beats with the audience harmonizing to the “sha, la, las.”

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Paige Walter

“This one’s for those who have seen us in Philly before,” announced the band before launching into “Acolyte,” a staple on indie playlists. It’s a song that feels like a warm embrace on a brisk autumn day and is undeniably a crowd favorite. The twangy chord progressions by lead guitarist Adam Meisterhans and the tight, crisp beats from drummer Zack Robbins had the audience singing along word for word, from start to finish. The bouncy bassline courtesy of Ian Farmer carried listeners through a spacey guitar solo, culminating in the iconic “ah, ah, ahs” sung by Jake Ewald.

Ewald paused for a moment to celebrate the unique experience of performing in the middle of the day, exclaiming, “Middle of the day live music, baby!” They then treated the audience to “Float Away,” the first single from their new record. Each member’s musical contributions interlocked like puzzle pieces that painted a beautiful musical picture.

Their next song, “Tommy,” continued the emotional journey. Much like the exceptional band Big Thief, Slaughter Beach, Dog displayed an undeniable onstage chemistry. They remained composed, expertly anticipating each other’s musical moves in a subtle sonic dialogue. The thumping drums and warmly intricate acoustic rhythms of “Tommy” tugged at the heartstrings. “If I Can’t Be Here Anymore” featured lyrics delicately delivered on a bed of soothing, ethereal guitar tones and gentle drumming.

In “Engine,” the eighth track from the new album, the lead guitarist unleashed his psychedelic fills that seamlessly complemented the bass and drum rhythms. As the song progressed, the lead guitarist’s subtle arpeggios crescendoed into an experimental guitar solo. During this solo, the band let loose, jamming out the final portion of the song, leaving everyone in awe.

“Henry” took the audience on a narrative journey through the life of a boy whose musical dreams were crushed. Building on the theme established in the previous song, it conveyed the fleeting, bewildering, and disheartening nature of life. Ewald has mentioned “Henry” serves as a poignant realization of the importance of having full autonomy in how you live your life.

Before leaving the WXPN stage, Slaughter Beach Dog uplifted the mood with the fan-favorite “Summer Windows,” a joyful folk-rock tune. With that, their set came to a close, and they casually exited the stage, expressing their gratitude to the audience and WXPN for the opportunity.

Be sure to check out their new album, Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling, and mark your calendars to catch them live at The Fillmore on November 18th.

Slaughter Beach, Dog
Free At Noon
  • My Sister In Jesus Christ
  • Strange Weather
  • Acolyte
  • Float Away
  • Tommy
  • Engine
  • Henry
  • Summer Windows