Cesares Dog Article
The Dog Rocks the Politically Incorrect By Jonathan Graham - 2/28/91 If there ever was any doubt that Cesare's Dog was the future of rock n' roll (and perhaps the American way of life too) there is no longer. Beloit College's premiere party band blew the doors off 810 College during their February 23 gig, providing a show-of-shows for the politically incorrect set. After an entrancing performance by The Hollow, a Beloit-area band that covers The Cure and Jesus and the Mary Chain better than any Stateline Area rockers should be able to, The Dog took over. The first set featured singer Randy Fowler (of the Randy Fowler Experience) fronting the band. Showing their good musical sense, the players stepped back and allowed Fowler to hold court in 810's sweatshop lounge. The bespecaled Fowler, poet laureate of Beloit's rock n' roll scene, turned in a stunning performance, offering the audience on rhymed couplet after another, each one more poignant than the one before. So sensative and stirring was the singer's performanc e that one could hardly help but compare him to a young Sid Vicous. After the intermission, The Dog returned to the stage led by founding vocalist Jonathan Levitt. Levitt, who is someting of a lyric poet himself, gave the performance of a lifetime after shocking the audience by announcing that he was leaving the band. Fighting back tears, Levitt belted out stirring renditions of such classics as "Marijuana Sunset," "Goatlick," and the semi-autobiographical (yet universally understandable) "Shucks For Johnny G." As if thanking Levitt for all he has given to the band, Cesare's Dog played scorchingly well. Guitarist Scott Felton lived up to his reputation as an "axe-man extraordinare" during one extended solo when he played a very funky version of Mahler's 1st Symphony with his right hand while smoking a cigarette with his left. Reminding us all that he is not just a musician but a spiritualist, Felton channeled Joshua Bell during several songs. Oboist John Galuska delighted the crowd and the Fire Marshall when he set himself and most of the band's equipment ablaze during a song that sounded strangely like a punk/polka remixing of "Its Raining Men." The multi-talented Eric Johnson blew in from Chicago to delight the hometown crowd with some hauntinly beautiful bongo drum playing providing a soulful compliment to Bryan Kohl - the Dog's regular skin smasher - who was playing even more sensitively brutal than usual. Rounding out the band was Scottish Folklorist Jeff Pedderson who reminded us how a bass guitar is meant to be spanked. The band combined for a series of songs that left many audience members stunned. Not many bands - in the course of one evening - managed to get audience members to dance and offer the careful listener pause to consider life's deeper questions, but the Dog did. Their rendition of "Stigmata Martyr" left me weeping for joy and led several in attendance to immediately covert to Catholicism, and Kohl's heart-wrenching tribute to Levitt proved that the band is capable of an emotional honesty rivaling the Osmond Family's earlier recordings. As usual, this Cesare's Dog concert changed my life and left me waiting (with bated breath) for their next show. Rumor has it that they will appear on Spring Day with Beloit College President Vic Farrell strumming the washboard. We could only be so lucky.