Los Angeles based Dawes rolled through Minneapolis on Friday night to a nearly full house at the State Theater downtown. Minneapolis was just one of the many stops on their tour, but there was no shortage of love exchanged between Dawes and their die heart fans. “Good evening Minneapolis,” front man Taylor Goldsmith said, “this is really like our second home. We’ve been coming to Minneapolis since we were an itty bitty baby band. You guys were one of the first cities that really gave us a chance,” he went on to say later in the set.
Friday night was aptly titled “An Evening with Dawes,” no opener, no warm up band, just Dawes and songs new and old from their seemingly endless discography.
Dawes is one of those bands that most (smart, music loving) people I know had a serious “phase” with. For me it was in college – discovering Dawes felt like discovering the greatest band to ever exist. And looking around the State Theater, seeing fans young and old, singing along to song after song, really was a reminder that there is something special about this band, that has stood the test of time, and likely will continue to do so for years to come. Seated behind me was a family, next to me some college dudes, across the aisle from me, a post-college artsy couple, in front of me a few older gentlemen endearingly fumbling to take iPhone videos.
As I sat alone at the State Theater, watching Dawes make their way through their two part set, I was reminded that there is something about this band transcends age, genre, location or whatever other category us music writers are sometimes guilty of trying to constrain a band to. Sure, they at might have a core fan base, but it wasn’t easy to nail down on Friday. For someone who goes to anywhere from 2-5 shows a week, you start to notice trends. “Oh this is a college band,” or “oh, this is a band that your parents heard on The Current,” and the assumptions and stereotypes go on and on. Not the case at Dawes on Friday. Dawes are as much storytellers as they are a band. Singing about life, love, loss and Los Angeles with every ounce of their being, but at the core of every song – the human experience. The things we all experience at some time or another in life, whether presently or yet to come or retrospectively. As they played through songs off nearly every single one of their five studio albums including hits like A Little Bit of Everything to When My Time Comes to Right On Time to Things Happen, I couldn’t help but feel a little existential.
An Evening with Dawes was an evening of stories – stories you can laugh with, stories you can relate to, and stories you hope never happen to you (i.e. finding your ex passed out on the floor of a party with their new flame circa When the Tequila Runs Out). The lyrics you can get lost in paired with their folk-rock feel good sounds (thanks to an incredibly talented band), made for a special evening. Between sitting and standing, dancing and drinking beer, sneaking Snapchats and Instagram videos, everyone was just there to soak in the glory of Dawes. No political rants, no gimmicks, just an evening of music to remind everyone why we all fell in love with Dawes in the first place.
Dawes played a two part set with a brief intermission. The second half started out more stripped down with drummer/vocalist Griffin Goldsmith stepping out from behind the drum set, maracas and tambourine in hand to lead the band in Roll Tide off their new album We’re All Gonna Die. Other highlights included Western Skyline, Most People, Roll With The Punches and If I Wanted Someone.
“We grew up being told we have to follow through with whatever we choose to spend our time doing. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If you don’t like your job, you should quit. If you don’t like your school, you should quit. If you don’t like your boyfriend or girlfriend, you should quit. So this song is in defense of quitting,” Taylor Goldsmith said introducing Quitter also off their new album. However, if there is one thing Minneapolis won’t be quitting anytime soon is their love for Dawes.