Slaughter Beach, Dog Sells Out Sinclair – By Beth Wigton

Thursday and Friday of the last week of January, Philly-based Slaughter Beach, Dog made its anticipated return to Cambridge. The indie-folk-rock outfit drew a sold-out audience to not one but two nights of sweet listening – initially selling out their Thursday show in a flash and announcing a second show due to popular demand. This tour was supported by Whitmer Thomas who was described as “the little rascals, but grown-ups” by SBD frontman, Jake Ewald.

Ewald and band took the stage with a career-spanning setlist. Electric guitar and coffee mug in hand (full of “a little tea”), an ever-so-slightly hoarse Ewald began with Are You There off of the band’s latest studio album At the Moonbase (2021). Playfully changing some lyrics throughout the performance, the band continued on with more cult favorites such as Pretty OK (dedicated to Ewald’s childhood friend, Lewis, who taught him to play guitar) and Glowing (a Superweaks cover), while others were left out (read: no Gold and Green or Fish Fry)

Slaughter Beach, Dog’s latest release was Live at the Cabin, recorded at home in the Poconos in early 2021 and released in October of 2022. Since most all of those songs were stripped down versions of previously released songs, the band wasn’t touring off any new material. But fans (Slaughter Beach Dawgs?!) know to expect something unexpected slipped in discreetly and without comment. This time, that was the performance of an unreleased track entitled Summer Windows – performed live only once prior to this evening. The tune invokes universal wistful feelings running wild during the dog days of summer: “I wish that I could tell you that I could use a hand / Oh I wish that I could write it like Townes van Zandt.” Speaking of Townes – unfortunately, Ewald’s cover of If I Needed You by TVZ on Live at the Cabin did not make the setlist.

Slaughter Beach, Dog refuses to stay in the confines of one genre. What includes a couple of emo anthems written for Modern Baseball earlier on, the band’s discography continues to reflect the creative self-expression of Ewald’s passion project with an authentic, exploratory sound. The result is a bridge between indie and folk, with some older songs slowed down during recent performances to offer a folksier interpretation – this time, Glowing, Black Oak, and Jonathan (the third arguably too slowed down). Even after 7 years of Slaughter Beach, Dog, the band has maintained its ability to keep their gigs feeling as personal and intimate as ever, in large part due to the interjection of Ewald’s anecdotes that melt hearts. It’s part of the appeal of the band in the first place. Ewald’s songwriting feels more like “the narration of recent encounters to friends,” per a nearby audience member. I found solace in the crowd whistling alongside Ewald during fan favorite Acolyte, enveloped in shared reverence.

As this was the first SBD gig I’d attended since the release of At the Moonbase, I was anticipating whether or not a live saxophone would join the band for the handful of tracks with sax accompaniment. Though no sax was found, the touring guitarist, Nick, crushed it with a sax pedal on the guitar. Seriously – the crowd went wild for his solo which was presented with slashing windmills and momentary rock star stage presence. The same reaction transpired for the catchy bassline performance by fellow Modern Baseball member, Ian Farmer. Everyone loves Ian, and the various concert-goers let that be known several times throughout the evening. I only regret that we didn’t get to experience the harmonica virtuosity of Ewald to fill out the variety of sounds.

The band returned to the stage for “ONE MORE SONG,” delighting pleading fans. Okay, two more songs: Your Cat and 104 Degrees from the 2017 Motorcycle.JPG EP were performed, the band and the crowd together in harmonious energy. Perhaps as one last push to express all the pent up passion for the band, the crowd joined Ewald in the fast-paced talk-singing of 104 Degrees, concluding the show with a period of electrifying instrumentation.


Are You There 

Do You Understand (What Has Happened to You) 

Pretty O.K. 

Bad Beer 

Glowing (The Superweaks cover) 

Summer Windows (unreleased)

Black Oak 


At the Moonbase


A Modern Lay 

Notes From a Brief Engagement (At the Boot & Saddle) 


Your Cat

104 Degrees


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