When Dawes front man Taylor Goldsmith addressed the audience at Stubb’s BBQ last Thursday, he recalled the band’s first visit to Austin in 2009 when they opened for Delta Spirit. Later in the set it was with genuine awe he informed the nearly sold-out venue this was their biggest audience ever in Austin. The observation could just as well be that of the arc of growth Dawes has earned. Their new album, “All Your Favorite Bands” is number one on the Billboard folk chart and working its way up the Billboard 200 (currently 37) less than three weeks after the record dropped. This will be their best-selling work at this rate.
The band arrived with a talented new member since their last stop in Austin, Duane Betts the son of founding Allman Brothers Band guitarist, Dickey Betts. It appears Betts has become at least a permanent touring member after a brief trial run earlier in the current tour. The guitarist adds an extra dimension to an already solid lineup of understated but tight-knit players. Betts fits in well with the groups laid-back demeanor on stage and adds welcome energy as he did on “Coming Back to a Man” with some Southern-fried guitar licks.
The set opened with “Things Happen” from the new record that retains the Laurel Canyon sound Dawes emulated on their previous records. Fans were drawn in from the get go, nodding their heads to the sentimental lyrics. Taylor’s words are sad but the warm vibes of their music softens the emotional impact. He is a gifted songwriter who allows space in his compositions for jams and introspection while retaining a youthful wonder about the world.
There were several high points throughout the 18-song set from the lyrical contagiousness of “A Little Bit of Everything” to the boisterous audience participation during “When My Time Comes” when Taylor turned his mic toward the crowd to help sing the chorus. UK act, The Waterboys cover, “Fisherman’s Blues” halfway through the performance demonstrated an influence outside the circle of Laurel Canyon artists, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills and Nash and similar artists. The song was a welcome addition to their repertoire.
Dawes saved one of our favorites, “Time Spent in Los Angeles” for late in the setlist. The semi-autobiographical track feels like a classic tune with a nice melodic hook. The Malibu residents finished with the title track off the new record. Ever gracious, the members of Dawes appear to have their feet firmly planted on the ground while expanding their fanbase considerably.
Dawes continue their tour in the U.S. and Canada before hooking up with My Morning Jacket for a few European dates then winding up their current run in hometown, L.A. first week of October. Stream “All Your Favorite Bands” on your favorite service here.
View exclusive photos of the performance by Tammy Perez in our slideshow at the top of the page.
Right on Time
Somewhere Along the Way
My Girl To Me
Million Dollar Bill
If I Wanted Someone
Peace in The Valley
To be Completely Honest
Fisherman’s Blues (The Waterboys cover)
Coming Back To A Man
I Can’t Think About it Now
A Little Bit of Everything
When My Time Comes
From The Right Angle
Time Spent in Los Angeles
From A Window Seat
All Your Favorite Bands