Lost Dogs
Connections Café
Santee, CA
December 6, 2008

The Lost Dogs started off their West Coast Christmas Tour right where they left off the just-completed Route 66, “America’s Mother Road,” cross-country trek by getting a little nostalgic. Just as traveling Route 66 is a trip down America’s memory lane, the Lost Dogs dug deeply into their recorded catalogue to create a most memorable, Christmas-y evening.

Little Red Riding Hood was released way back in 1993, yet this seasoned quartet pulled a whole three songs (“Imagine That,” “Eleanor, It’s Raining Now,” and “No Room For Us”) from that CD. Derri Daugherty introduced “No Room For Us” by giving a little history lesson to it. The song was tracked at the historic Green Room in front of that house/studio’s crackling fireplace, and Daugherty mentioned how you can even hear fireplace sounds on the recording. (And he’s right; I checked it out myself). Furthermore, the Dogs took on “Bullet Train” — Terry Taylor’s pro-gun control tune — from Scenic Routes, which was the group’s debut.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas show without Christmas music, and tonight the boys played a few originals (“Big Fruitcake From Hell,” “Song For The Day After Christmas”), as well as a pretty take on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” There was also a silly go at Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which was nothing more than the chance for Lost Dogs to good-naturedly make fun of each other. And while Taylor — who wrote the imaginary radio play — has a wicked sense of humor, this verbose farce wore out its welcome quickly.

Between-song verbal interplay, in addition to all the great music, is one of the best parts about any Lost Dogs show. And tonight was no exception, as Mike Roe referred to Daugherty as a “bottom feeder” because he had the relatively easy job of playing bass. Daugherty was also often referred to as “the girl in the band,” presumably due to his ‘girly’ name and formerly long hair. But because of his current full, red beard, these jokes were all the funnier.

This two-hour show concluded with an encore that included a great take on Daniel Amos’ “If You Want To” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” which also featured Riki Michele on guest vocals. It made perfect sense to have Michele join in at the end, as she also introduced the group at the beginning.

Experiencing a Lost Dogs Christmas show strikes the perfect balance between all the secular and sacred pressures consistently placed upon us during the holiday season. Lost Dogs sing about the Christian life in their unique, loony way, and for them – as for us – Christmas always ought to be both fun and funny. And tonight, the Christmas spirit was in abundance at Connections Café.
— Dan MacIntosh