Columbus, Ohio's AMERICAN DOG is one of the best, bull-shit free and rifftastic American hard rock bands in the world today, but if you asked the average U.S. fan about the trio you'd more often than not get a blank stare in reply. It is a classic case of European fans recognizing what U.S. fans have been overlooking for far too long. Though I'm sure AMERICAN DOG has got its fair share of stateside fans, they've gone over a storm in Europe these past several years. One only needs to watch the fiery trio kick the collective ass of the French crowd at L'Empreinte Savigny Le Temple in Paris to see what so many U.S rock fans have been missing. Filmed during yet another one of the band's successful European tours, it is high energy, loud 'n proud U.S. hard rock and heavy metal served up with a keg of beer and a side of rhythm 'n blues.
The 13-track gig is the centerpiece of "All Over the Road: Volume Two" and is a beer drinkin' and hell raisin' good time. It is also damn refreshing for the purity of approach in an era when packaging too often overshadows content. If you thought latest album "Mean" was a riff lover's dream, then wait until you see and hear the performance of guitarist/vocalist Steve Theado. In Nugentarian terminology, Theado breaches the Gonzo threshold of big guitar godliness. Translated: the guy knocks out some hellacious riffs and gets a tone that'll straighten every one of the hairs on your neck. The axe swinger is but one leg of an exceedingly well built stool. Lead vocalist/bassist Michael Hannon is a fun loving wiseass that plays his role of chief rabble rouser to the hilt and his singing style is well suited to the often tongue-in-cheek tales of American excess and double entendre raciness. Drummer/vocalist Keith Pickins holds it all together and still manages to keep his kit intact after the severe beating he inflicts on it. At several points during the show, particularly the jam-based moments, you'll be reminded of the live spectacle, sans the frills, that a hard rock show once was, particularly during the '70s and '80s.
Getting down to brass tacks then, AMERICAN DOG is one tight live act and knows how to show an audience a great time. The crowd participation is nearly constant, rising to fever pitch during classics like "Drank Too Much", "Rock-N-Roll Dog", and "Sometimes You Eat The Pussy". The tracks from latest album "Mean", such as "Just One More", "Boozehound", and "Drivin' Down The Sidewalk" translate to the stage very well. Perhaps that's because of the live manner in which "Mean" was recorded, as noted during "The Making of Mean", one of several insightful interview segments of "The Videos" portion of the DVD, which also includes several entertaining AMERICAN DOG videos, as well as loads of beer soaked hilarity. In fact, the fun factor of this DVD cannot be emphasized enough.
Do yourself a favor and check out AMERICAN DOG at AmericanDog.us. Then order a copy of "All Over the Road: Vol. II" and find out how one Ohio band is kickin' it old school and doing its damnedest to keep the American hard rock tradition alive.