Apr 3, 2024 - News

Catch Dogs in a Pile’s Ocean Beach residency

A man playing electric guitar on stage with his band behind him.

Dogs in a Pile co-lead guitarist Brian Murray. Photo: Nick Codina

The second week of Dogs in a Pile's monthlong residency at Winstons Beach Club begins Thursday at 9pm.

Why it matters: The improvisational funk, jazz and rock band from New Jersey is recording an album in Southern California and sees that time as an opportunity to build a fan community like they already have in their East Coast stomping grounds.

State of play: While they record in an East LA home studio, Dogs sets up an every-Wednesday residency at the Venice West and an every-Thursday gig at Winstons.

  • They're also hitting everything within driving distance nearby while they're here, with shows in Joshua Tree, Tucson, Phoenix, San Luis Obispo, Chico, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

What they're saying: "It's just a really great way to get familiarized with an area, make a bunch of new friends, and build a little bit of a following," said Brian Murray, one of the band's two guitarists.

Case in point: The band did the same thing last year, with a weekly residency in Denver and shows in ski towns in between.

  • "And, when we've been back since then, we were playing bigger rooms and had a lot of friends to return to," Murray said.

The intrigue: Knowing they're playing the same venue and to familiar faces each week also lets the band lean into its playful side.

  • The first letter of each song in last week's set list, for instance, spelled out W-I-N-S-T-O-N-S forward, then backward.
  • That included covers of the Grateful Dead's "The Other One" and Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," and a stretched-out version of their "Nicollete."

Fun fact: The band's official fan group — the Dogpound — is putting together fan meet-ups before each show during the run.

  • In San Diego, that's at the Ocean Beach Brewery each week.

Flashback: Dogs in a Pile just made it to California for the first time a year ago for Ventura's Skull and Roses festival, then played a sold-out Winstons show in June.

  • "It was my first time here since I was a little kid and I just totally fell in love with the place," Murray said.

Zoom in: Dogs in a Pile's youngest member — drummer Joey Babick — is just 21.

  • He and guitarist Jimmy Law, both classically trained musicians, were family friends and began playing together. Then, they hooked up with three musicians from the prestigious Berklee School of Music (including Murray), completing the lineup.

If you go: Dogs in a Pile's remaining Winstons shows are $15 apiece — $18 at the door — but don't be surprised if they sell out.

  • Additional shows are at 9pm on April 11 and April 18.
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