The line to get into see Los Angeles based band, Dawes, snaked through the parking lot of The Observatory in Santa Ana as dedicated fans gathered to see them at the intimate side venue known as the Constellation Room. We all knew that this was an opportunity to get up close and personal with the band and the songs we love.
Starting off their set with the sweet and tragic, “That Western Skyline” from their first album North Hills, singer / guitarists Taylor Goldsmith’s voice rang out like a bright light. Instantly the audience was in sync with him, heads nodding along to the beat, which supported the urgency in Taylor’s voice. Then he let go and his voice soared out with the crowd’s singing the desperate lyrics “no my dreams did not come true/no they only came apart.” We were off to a spectacular start with a band that was truly at home on stage, laying bare the honesty of life and sharing the beauty of their music with us.
Known for their vintage sound and rich harmonies, Dawes, has garnered a dedicated grassroots following. Their fans last night were there for the music, I saw hardly any phones out and heard little to no talking during the set, a rare sight to behold these days. And Dawes is clearly there to share the art of their music. In unassuming Dockers and a matching button up, Taylor played his guitar and ripped into insane solos in nearly every song. Brother and drummer, Griffin Goldsmith carried the band through song after song with only his fro and beautiful harmonies seen behind his kit. Tay Strathairn, on keys, was smiling almost the entire set lost in the affection they were getting from the crowd. And Wylie Gelber, on bass, with his shaggy dark hair stood steadfast on the stage comfortable playing songs that seem to have become second nature to him. Clearly Dawes cares about their craft and it showed. These weren’t mere repeats of studio album tracks; these were canvases that were coming to life before our eyes. From Taylor, taking on intricate guitar solos, to the vocal harmonies that weaved like a river over, under and through the crowd bubbling up on stage into a colorful auditory explosion, we were seeing the creation of true art.
The Dawes catalog is rich in lyrical storytelling, taking the listener along on a journey that hits at the heart of life and the experiences that define it; love, frustration, loss, grief, joy, truth seeking, etc. The crowd sang loud to their favorite tracks, especially to “Time Spent in Los Angeles” But, Dawes also introduced us to a bevy of new songs that will (hopefully) be included on an album they “are finishing up in the studio,” according to Taylor.
True to Dawes form, each song was a lyrical tour accented by alluring musical compositions and harmonies. If these songs are any indication of what the new album has in store, then we are looking at a possible top-10-list appearance (in my humble opinion) on music blogs everywhere! The music of Dawes gets under your skin and begs to be experienced live so if you have the chance; get a ticket, wait in that long line, power your phone off and get on board to hear “A Little Bit of Everything.”
Check out our photos below of Dawes at the Constellation Room!
Show Review: Anne-Marie Schiefer
Photography: Lindsay Wiles