Returning as Rockstars: Dogleg Faces Their Biggest Crowd Yet at Pitchfork

Michigan-based punk band Dogleg faced a dogleg — or sharp turn in a path — of their own in March 2020. The group released their debut album “Melee” March 13, the same day former president Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, as live music crawls its way back onto the scene, the quartet has returned to a full rockstar treatment. 

Dogleg took on Pitchfork Music Festival’s Green Stage midday Friday — facing a crowd of hundreds — which they estimated was four times bigger than their previous record showcased in their “Fox” music video.

The performance was a dream come true and one that had been a long time coming. Three of the four members — bassist Chase Macinski, guitarist Parker Grissom and singer and guitarist Alex Stoitsiadis — met at a music school in seventh grade and have played together since. 

Dogleg bassist Chase Macinski sings backup vocals during the band’s set at Pitchfork Music Festival Sept. 10.

Now, after adding drummer Jacob Hanlon to their lineup — who said the crowd size “blew his mind” — Macinski said playing this set made him feel like some of the bands he’s idolized since his early days in music.

“When I did my first jump in the middle of ‘Fox,’ I was like ‘This is how Blink 182 feels,” Macinski told The Phoenix. 

The group’s energy matched that of the crowd, which Stoitsiadis attributed to the amount of preparation they put into playing. 

“We can play all of this in our sleep,” the 23-year-old said. “That’s how [we] can play with this much energy. [We] just practice, practice, practice. Then, when you play, you already have the muscle memory.”

He admitted his signature cartwheel — this time with a running start due to the amount of space they had on stage — is not practiced.

Despite the great turnout reinforcing their status as rising stars, Stoitsiadis said he feared people would be sick of their year-old album already.

“I have been waiting to play these songs for so f—ing long,” Stoitsiadis said. “I was worried that people would be sick of the songs.”

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Dogleg singer and guitarist Alex Stoitsiadis yells into the mic from afar during the band’s Sept. 10 set at Pitchfork Music Festival.

The frontman’s fears turned out to be unfounded. 

While their album’s title is a nod to the Nintendo game series “Super Smash Bros.,” it was also a fitting title for the audience’s reaction to their set. It didn’t take long for a mosh pit to form in the crowd, with thrashing audience members kicking up the dusty ground as the group shredded through their set.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Fans thrash around during Dogleg’s set at pitchfork Music Festival Sept. 10.

As the notes of their album-closing song “Ender” radiated throughout Union Park, Hanlon got up from his kit and threw his sticks into the crowd — joining the ranks of great drummers from across all genres and eras in doing so — which he said helped set in the gravity of the situation.

“I felt like a badass.”

“Melee” is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services.

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