Dawes at Royale on Oct. 28, 2011

Dawes seems to be doing everything the right way. They tour endlessly, they’ve played backup to the great Robbie Robertson, and they treat their fans like their friends.

Last night was my first chance to see Dawes live and it was everything I hoped. On album, the band sounds like a California version of the Avett Brothers — less punky and  more Jackson Browne-era harmonies. But live frontman Taylor Goldsmith not only delivers his heartfelt lyrics with feeling, he backs them up with some pretty searing guitar. In fact, the whole band rocks a whole lot harder in concert.

The show had a weird early start because Royale is primarily a dance club with a DJ after 10. The three-band event started at a ridiculous 6 p.m. The brother-sister act the Belle Brigade started things off with a fun set of folky-punky pop. Dawes was up next, and while they only had an hour and a half, they packed in 11 songs, including great versions of “Fire Away,” “When My Time Comes,” and “Time Spent in Los Angeles.” Taylor’s brother Griffin took the vocals on a pair of tunes, including a cover of Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome,” which was totally fun and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

I was not so taken, however, with the final band, Blitzen Trapper. I had heard great things and even heard a couple of tracks that I liked from their latest album, “American Goldwing.”  The band rocked well enough, but I guess after how personable the Dawes show was, Trapper seemed a little generic. I will someday give them another try though. As for Dawes, there is no doubt this band is in it for the long run and hopefully they’ll come around again when they are headlining.

For my pix, go HERE
Dawes setlist (courtesy of Maimed and Tamed blog)
The Way You Laugh
If I Wanted Someone
That Western Skyline
How Far We’ve Come
Fire Away
So Well
Peace In The Valley
Kodachrome (Paul Simon cover)
A Little Bit of Everything
When My Time Comes
Time Spent in Los Angeles

Video of “A Little Bit of Everything” at Royale


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