When Dawes stopped in Nashville, TN last month, a long line of cold, damp fans filed into Grimeys Too to catch the Los Angeles rockers perform an in-store set. Within the intimate confines of the indie bookstore, which acts as an extension of the world-renowned local record store Grimeys, the band shelved off plenty of new songs from this month’s Stories Dont End.
Grimeys co-owner Doyle Davis said that phones rang off the hook prior to the set, and at least half of the 100+ attendees were out of towners. Smiles and thanks aside, it was a turning point for Davis with his relationship to the band. He had previously played various selections from the band on his weekly radio show, Indie Underground Hour, but the live spectacle sparked a different awareness and appreciation.
With Dawes’ ensuing national tour, Consequence of Sound thought it’d be prudent to convince both casual fans and new listeners to catch them in-person — all for our latest edition of Five Reasons.
05. They’re on their way up
As a young band, Dawes quickly gained credibility through their association with Jackson Browne. Now theyve got dates opening for Bob Dylan, which feels like even more of a benediction of the bands songwriting. But beyond linking with famous names, there are other signs that Dawes is coming up in the world: In June, they’re headlining Nashvilles fabled Ryman Auditorium. We were as surprised as you, frontman Taylor Goldsmith told the crowd of the forthcoming show. With a seating capacity of 2,362, and a history steeped in the very best music has offered to date, the Ryman is a solid indicator of progress. So, yeah, now might be the best time to snag a ticket.
04. A chance to shift focus
A live show can be a good opportunity to zero in on another side of a band and its work. For Davis, seeing Dawes also gave him a chance to break down the DNA of the songs and really listen to the lyrics, which is something he hadnt previously done. They write unusual, kind of different songs. Theres a bit of a literary bent in there that I found appealing, Davis said. When you can put the two things [music and lyrics] together and do it really well, youve really got something.”
03. Griffin Goldsmith’s drumming faces
The younger Goldsmith really has something different going on. He’s not the first musician whose facial expressions mirror the intensity of their work, but hes fun to watch because he looks like hes fighting off an attacking drum kit. He strikes, he checks the damage, he frowns, he clenches his jaw, he strikes again, and he attempts to avoid any guts on his shirt. During an interview with a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, Goldsmith said hes tried to control his face in the past to no avail. Thank God.
02. The community experience of sad songs
In Nick Hornbys novel, High Fidelity, main protagonist Rob Fleming poses the question: What came first the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Theres a deadly attraction to sad music and Dawes has an arsenal of tearjerkers like Million Dollar Bill, Peace in the Valley, and Moon in the Water. Though, hearing Taylor Goldsmith break your heart is a vastly different experience in person and in the middle of a crowd. Instead of marinating in melancholy, try the more life affirming experience of hearing sad songs with company.
01. The musicianship
Everybody in the band [plays] super tasty licks, Davis observed. Dawes’ records sound great, but too many longtime fans gush about their live show — they’re not wrong. In a word, the guys are tight. Taylors an incredible guitar player and soloist, Davis added, while I could listen to [Wylie Gelber] just play his bass lines all day long. What’s more, the freedom of a live show also allows the band to extend and unpack some of their deeper cuts, which might leave you walking home with a new favorite song.
Photo by John Brassil.