By DAN MACINTOSH
ANAHEIM, CA – Dawes helped meet a big need when this critically-acclaimed Los Angeles band performed in what was essentially the Angel Stadium parking lot on Saturday night.
Some may not consider a ‘lack of live music shows’ a need, but for many others, experiencing live music is extremely necessary. Yes, there have been plenty of acoustic, internet home performances to take in during this extensive pandemic, but there’s nothing quite like being in the presence of electric guitars cranked up high.
Fans got to hear Dawe’s loud guitars, even though these axes weren’t loud in, say, the way Eddie Van Halen’s guitar sounded during pre-concert music. Nevertheless, it was a true joy to hear live Rock N Roll.
Dawes is also not the most upbeat band in the world. Its leader, Taylor Goldsmith doesn’t usually write feelgood music. Rather, his songs often explore complicated issues, where relationships can get a little messy. With that said, though, Goldsmith did slightly transform lyrics to the group’s “If I Wanted Someone” into an anthemic plea to make these trying days move easier. Goldsmith also had a little fun with this unique concert venue when he asked patrons to honk their horns or flash their lights to show audience appreciation for the music.
It is tough to quibble with Dawes’ setlist this evening. The act drew heavily from its just released album, Good Luck with Whatever, including one that Goldsmith described as his most autobiographical effort, “Still Feel Like a Kid,” as well as the spiritually reflective “Didn’t Fix Me.”
Another one, where Goldsmith switched to acoustic guitar to perform, “St. Augustine at Night” sprang to new life when played live. Some songs may not connect with you in their recorded versions but make a beeline right for your heart played live. Such was certainly the case with this wonderful new geographically inspired song.
Dawes saved some of its very best songs for last, performing the lyrically sharp “A Little Bit of Everything” near the end, and capped off the night with “All Your Favorite Bands,” which is the ultimate Rock N Roll benediction. After the band left the stage, the PA played Gary Numan’s “Cars,” quite appropriately. Southern California, the ultimate car culture, was the right setting for such an outdoor show.
Dawes music may be too complicated for some folks’ Saturday night drive, but for fans of the group, this was an extremely satisfying evening of music.
Dawes video by Bill Lloyd: