Another day, another headliner I’m completely ignorant about: this time it was Southern California indie rockers Dawes, who I had at least heard of, this time around. I had this nagging feeling I’d seen them before — opening for someone, maybe, but who? — but no photos to verify this feeling, and I certainly knew that I couldn’t tell you a single song title of theirs.
I like a fresh slate for live acts, though, sometimes; a live show is different than a studio setting, and, for example, I find the Henry Clay People super charming live and a little bit flat in studio. It’s the same band and two different feelings. So, luckily for Dawes, their live act charmed me immediately, enough so by their drummer’s hilarious faces and Taylor Goldsmith’s sharply self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek-but-sincere songwriting, that I’ll definitely be picking up their album when it comes out in June. Diminuitive frontman Goldsmith has something Woody Allen-ish about him, both in looks and in cheeky songwriting, particularly the highlight of the evening for me, a song he introduced as “Coming Back To A Man”, apparently off their upcoming album.
When a songwriter can make me laugh and cry in the same song, of course I’m going to be charmed. I’m looking forward to digging into Dawes’ catalog, as well as the stuff that Goldsmith has done with Middle Brother. That’s the mark of a good live performer.
Plus the show had a double bill of locals I dig; Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores, who were generous enough to put me on their list, and Patrick Phelan-fronted Luego, who seem to have gained guitarists every time I see them. (Although to be fair, in this case, what I thought was a new guitarist was just the Tomahawks’ Nick Jaeger minus about a foot of hair. People, don’t do that to me! I never recognize anyone when the hair and/or beards are gone.) It was fantastic to see Wylie and his guys play their own stuff with the same kind of fire and fierceness that I’ve seen them give to covers, and they’ve rapidly become one of my favorite set of dudes here to just hang out with. Excellent taste in music, all of them, and excellent human beings. Luego was back with a bigger sound and a set of monitors that Patrick could climb on, which isn’t necessarily a good idea but was certainly entertaining. They were both great choices to open for Dawes: a little twang, big guitars, lots of stage energy.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening full of a wide variety of people I dig.