Pavlov's Dog - 'House Broken Live 2015'

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Pavlov's Dog - 'House Broken Live 2015'

A great band who should have had more of a chance.

Pavlov's Dog is finally back in reality! Put out some flags, please. This cult band, which produced two albums beloved of a few in the seventies, has been producing product recently – a long lost third album and some early recordings for instance – but this Nuremberg gig is them bang up to date. Well, sort of. Main man David Surkamp is of course, here with wife Sara, but he has youngsters around him, including Amanda McCoy, who is positively glowing on guitar and great string-sawer Abbie Steiling on violin.
Fingers are bound to be crossed at the nature of Surkamp's voice, always a thought divider, more of a Family's Roger Chapman lamb-like bleat than a rich baritone; fear not, the voice is all there, although aficionados wishing there was 'She Came Shining' present might listen to the notes on the original – he may have needed a stepladder to get there.

There is a sense of love here, of those who care for this band keeping faith and coming together for a day they perhaps though would never come. It's housed in a lovely digi-pack of two CDs and a DVD with dogs all over the package, dogs owned by the band too; very, very sweet.

Strangely, the audio is perhaps better than the visual. The crowd doesn't appear to have a voice and the understandable "no overdubs" call makes Surkamp's chat from the stage barely distinguishable. The general feeling, however, is of love, gentle care and real fun. 'Fast Gun' has a Mott The Hoople quality here, gorgeous to hear, while 'Crying Forever' finds a Proggy grace and 'Canadian Rain' shows an amazing Funky bass solo by Rick Steiling. You could bounce on 'Try To Hang On' all day and 'Valkerie' finally gets the sing-along we miss.

The band plays with a care and attention which allows them to have fun; they clearly love playing these great songs and the specialness of this event is borne with a calmness which is admirable.

The DVD is enjoyable. No, it is. It's just not great. The shooting is rudimentary, sometimes following the members in a woozy way, the colours are unnaturally burnished red and the stage is cramped. But Surkamp is a lovely presence, with a childlike wonder of the crowd's enjoyment and a demeanor that allows us to almost feel him; the band are throwing shapes because they are in the music, not because they feel they should, and the sweat is palpable. Sweet and fun, this showcases great songs and surely that's what it's all about.

For those not familiar, perhaps start here then go to debut 'Pampered Menial' and further from there. A great band who should have had more of a chance. It is said that dogs can lessen your stress, this package is surely proof.

Steve Swift

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