A festive audience packed the Parrish, inside the House of Blues Anaheim, for The Dollyrots as the band brought their Year of the Bunny Tour to SoCal.
Originating in Florida, the married duo settled down in Los Angeles for nearly two decades, playing several local residencies and forming a large fanbase here. As such, it’s always somewhat of a homecoming that brings out fans anytime the band graces Orange County.
I first saw Dog Party in 2019 supporting Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and their live shows have only gotten better each time I’ve caught them. The Sacramento band first gained a following when Kepi Ghouli took them under his wings, and later caught major attention as fellow Bay Area fellows Green Day brought them along for their Revolution Radio Tour in 2016.
The two-piece band consists of sisters Gwendolyn Giles on guitar and vocals, and Lucy Giles on drums and vocals, formed when they were just 10 and eight, respectively. Although there is a striking resemblance between the two physically, I feel like each brings their own unique style in approaching music. Gwendolyn has more laid-back vocals reminiscent of early Liz Phair, while Lucy favors a high-paced singing that reminds me of the 5-6-7-8s with the occasional scream.
Dog Party opened with “G Diddly,” as they often do, an instrumental song that highlights both their playing styles, and it’s a great way to introduce new fans to the group. They followed with the Gwendolyn-sung “Cry,” and the grunge-heavy “Peanut Butter Dream” sung by Lucy. They debuted a new song, “Last Night,” which they said will be on the album they’ve been working on.
My favorite song of the set was “Round ‘N’ Round,” a lovely ditty about heartbreak with the repeating chorus, “I’m missing home, whoa oh oh,” beautifully showcasing Gwendolyn’s vocals. Contrast that with just a few songs later, “Lost Control,” an angsty blues-rock number that would feel right at home at a Black Keys concert. Lucy often drums so hard and gets into her playing, that her whole set shakes while she plays and sings as she did on “Operator” and “Fujiyama Mama.”
The Parish | Anaheim, California
As the lights dimmed, the classic Looney Tunes theme song began playing, followed by Bikini Girl’s “Rebel Girl,” which is a pretty accurate description of what was to come. The Dollyrots took the stage with a special guest on drums for this portion of their tour: none other than Aixa Vilar of Go Betty Go.
This was a special treat for fans like myself, as I am a huge fan of Vilar’s playing. I really felt like she added some teeth to their performance and made for a really great live show.
They opened their set with “I Do,” followed by the crowd favorite, “My Best Friend’s Hot.” Bassist and lead singer Kelly Ogden introduced the aptly titled “Party” as “a song about partying.” The Dollyrots played a new song entitled “Hey Girl,” off of their upcoming album, “Night Owls.” The song saw guitarist and backup singer Luis Cabezas playing on the riser, only to jump back onto stage.
They played their cover of “Brand New Key,” which begins as a slow solo song with Ogden’s bass before exploding into a pop punk jam led by Vilar’s thunderous drumming.
Despite not having a microphone, Vilar would sing along to most songs while expertly drumming away like she did on “City of Angels” and “Dance Like a Maniac.”
If you’ve ever seen The Dollyrots before, you know they keep it a family affair – not only are their shows usually all-ages events, but fans come to see Ogden and Cabezas’s children perform onstage as the rest of the band took a quick breather. First, son River began telling (somewhat) dirty jokes while doing impressive yo-yo tricks.
When the band returned onstage, Rivers picked up an identical second guitar to his dad’s, while daughter Daisy played drums along for a family jam.
Finally, The Dollyrots came back to play the high-speed “Jackie Chan” and “Satellite,” as Rivers stood atop Kelly’s speaker and continued performing yo-yo tricks. They finished off a very fun set with “Animal,” and the empowering, “Because I’m Awesome.”
It was another great show in Anaheim thanks to Dog Party and The Dollyrots!