Dawes is one of those bands where I have tried for years to grasp the deep, fierce love with which fans of the band approach Taylor Goldsmith’s music, and after three or four shows, I remain perplexed. I enjoy Dawes, but there’s nothing in their songs that snags my heart and flips it over. What does flip my heart over, though, is that fierce love that Dawes fans have for the band — as Bob Boilen noted during the 9:30 Club Fall Out Boy show, it is sometimes more fun to watch a crowd love a band you don’t love than try to love that band. (This makes it sounds like I don’t enjoy Dawes, which I do; I just enjoy them in a vague, cheerful sort of way, and not one of passion and lust.) Last night’s show at the Cradle was hot and it fogged up my lens and the people surrounding me had poor concert etiquette, but by God, they love Taylor Goldsmith, and I love taking photos of Taylor Goldsmith’s mobile face and lovely hands and phenomenal charisma, so I enjoyed the hell out of my evening, too.
Shovels & Rope, on the other hand, are a band I adore without regard, and they were phenomenal last night — a good portion of the audience was as there to see them as they were to see Dawes, and an amped-up crowd for an opener never fails to improve a set. I also just adore the way that Cary Ann and Michael work together; their relationship inspires me to want, to find, a partner like that for myself. They grinned at their avid audience, sure, but they also grinned more at each other, with clear affection and adoration, and that makes their music better. Swapping between guitar and drums — with Michael occasionally playing the guitar and drums at the same time — they tore through a 45 minute, 10 song set, that I just wished was longer. It is so rare to see such grace and talent all on one stage, and such noise and beauty made by two people. I love love love them.
Full set here.