Don’t Miss Dawes the Next Time They’re in TownFebruary 22nd, 2010
Dawes – The Bowery Ballroom – February 19, 2010
The L.A.-based quartet Dawes played a handful of NYC shows last year, all of them as openers. But on Friday night, serving as headliners, they sold out the venerable Bowery Ballroom. Much has been made of their musical roots and the precociousness of their debut album, North Hills—most often mentioning Americana and alt-country, or comparing their sound to that which has come out of the legendary rock and roll neighborhood Laurel Canyon, comparing their evocative lyrics to those of the Band and comparing their harmonies to those of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Instead, though, let’s just go with this: If Dawes were a van, there’d be a DON’T COME A KNOCKIN’ sticker on the back bumper ’cause this band rocks.
The group is led by its 24-year-old frontman, Taylor Goldsmith, who has serious pipes, dexterous guitar skills and exuberance and stage presence to spare. (Plus, he resembles a beardless Charlie Day.) And although he sings and rips it on guitar, the rest of the band—Wylie Gelber on bass, Griffin Goldmsith (Taylor’s 19-year-old brother) on drums and Alex Casnoff on keys—is just as talented. The show began with a mellow one-two punch of “When You Call My Name” and “Give Me Time” before Taylor happily addressed the crowd: “Last February, we were the first of three bands to play here. And look at us now!”
But something special about this band is how easily they move from a slow song, like the harmonious new tune “So Well” to an upbeat one, like “My Girl to Me,” which really comes to rocking life onstage. Of course, the high point of the night was probably the band’s set closer, the anthem “When My Time Comes,” which inspired the most rousing, fist-pumping sing-along The Bowery Ballroom has seen in quite some time. That moment would have been a fitting end to the show. But this was Friday night in New York City, and the headlining Dawes didn’t disappoint with their two-song encore—a pitch-perfect take on Warren Zevon’s resplendent “Lawyers, Guns and Money” and a dreamy, swirling, jammed-out “Peace in the Valley.” It made for one hell of a Friday night. —R. Zizmor