Dawes has spent a good deal of time with rock royalty during its short lifespan. They backed up Robbie Robertson of the Band, as well as opened up for Bob Dylan on his spring tour, earning them a bigger following and perhaps even more confidence as performers. Now, Dawes is headlining their own shows at larger venues in support of their third studio album, Stories Don’t End. Comprised of brothers Taylor (vocals, guitar) and Griffin Goldsmith (drums) as well as Wylie Gelber (bass) and Tay Strathairn (Keyboards), Dawes co-headlined a show with Dr. Dog at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom. Heavily influenced by ’70s rock such as Crosby Stills Nash, the Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jackson Browne, Dawes brought their free and easy music to a small, but appreciative crowd.
After Dr Dog’s set, a significant amount of the crowd left, never to return. That was expected considering it was a Sunday evening and Dawes didn’t go on until 10:45. However the band remained unfazed and energetic. They came on and dove right into the catchy chord progression of “Most People.” Taylor with messy hair and a tight white button-up shirt, confidently and passionately belted out his vocals.
All of the instruments sounded tight, despite the muffled acoustics of the Crystal Ballroom. The hour and 15 minute set was mostly filled with songs from their new album, peppered by a few older ones. Taylor showed off his guitar chops on solos during “Most People” and “From a Window Seat”, shredding on his white Telecaster as he hopped across the stage. Taylor didn’t speak very much to the audience, besides, “What’s up Portland? We’re Dawes.” All four members made facial expressions that even Bruce Springsteen would be proud of, grimacing through each song.
Even though the crowd was small, the group that stuck around were very engaged. From the start of the show, the majority of the audience sang along . “From a Window Seat” and “Time Spent in Los Angeles” definitely got the biggest reaction from fans including three guys in their mid-twenties who stood together, arms around each other as they enthusiastically jumped around and sang along.
The energy that Dawes brought to the stage makes them a band I definitely would recommend seeing live. As each new album comes out, the songs become more mature. It will be interesting to see them continue to progress as a band and as showmen.
You must watch these guys live!