Me with Taylor Goldsmith. More Pictures and Video from the front row to follow shortly.
When you go and see Dawes live in concert (which I suggest ALL of you do), you’re getting “A Little Bit of Everything.” With the release of their third album, Stories Don’t End, the band is continuing to produce the best music I’ve heard from a modern band (this coming from a radio DJ who’s seen a dozen concerts this summer thus far). There are amazing songs, there are amazing bands, there are amazing bands that put on amazing shows, and then there is Dawes. They truly are a category all their own, with a humble talent and energy that is so wonderful to see and is rarely experienced (The Lone Bellow is another band that comes to mind with this endearing quality).
Writing this now on “My Way Back Home” from the show, the wind from the open window beside me continually yields unto my ears the memories of this evening’s ethereal performance. As I’m home in New York for the summer, I attended the show at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, a venue with nearly a century of history ranging from Vaudeville performances and film in the early days to 18 performances by the Grateful Dead between 1970 and 1971 alone. The Capitol Theatre ceased to serve as a concert venue for nearly 15 years however, before reopening for business in late 2012. The environment and ethos is fitting for a band like Dawes, whose sound is both classic and new.
Shovels and Rope provided a wondrous opening, quickly garnering the full support of the crowd (a rare feat for an up-and-coming opening act) with their rousing Carolina folk, country, and Americana blues. But oh how the building shook when Taylor, Griffin, Wylie, Tay, and surprise guest Blake Mills took the stage after a thirty-second long dramatic prelude with lights, smoke, and rising beats. Beginning with the first single from Stories Don’t End, “From a Window Seat,” those who were seated in the balcony did not remain so for long. Through Taylor’s honest depiction of airline travel, the band brilliantly captures the metaphorical and altitudinal vicissitudes everyone goes through on a flight and in life.
Throughout the evening the band played “So Well” (okay, I’ll stop with the song jokes now), and had EVERYONE in the audience utterly enthralled, transporting us to that same place Taylor goes when he closes his eyes and let’s his fingertips deftly dance across the fretboard, or Griffin goes the second he takes a seat behind his drums, becoming the master of his domain and the heartbeats his strategically pounding bass controls.
The interactivity between everyone in the theatre was electric and moving, serving as a direct reminder to myself about why I love to make, share, and promote music: the unity and joy it serves to create and preserve. They played for nearly two and a half hours from their 35-song published repertoire, including two fantastic original pieces by former Simon Dawes member Blake Mills, and an incredible cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line” featuring Shovels and Rope to close out the show. I missed “I Gotta Feelin”, the heartwarming and emotionally crowd-sourced song they closed with when I saw them last June in Central Park, and was disappointed that they never got to play with Mumford &Sons at the Hoboken, NJ stopover, though I have to say that this show, especially when coupled with the tremendous generosity and kindness the guys showed my friends and I by their tour bus afterward, more than makes up for those two misses, and firmly cements Dawes’ place as one of the most influential bands of my 19 year old life.
Their lyrics will move and connect with every one of you, because we all have “Something in Common”.