Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Show Review: Literate Americana Rockers Dawes Set a Gentle Tone Before Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Pageant, Monday, June 14

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 10:22 AM

(For a review of the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros show, click here.)

click to enlarge ANNIE ZALESKI
  • Annie Zaleski

Dawes hails from Southern California, and vocalist/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith is just barely old enough to buy alcohol. But the quartet's 45-minute set opening for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros revealed a band that's old before its time. Its slowly unfolding vignettes were rich with detail about places, time, movement and, of course, love - and how these elements intersect and affect one another. More often than not, Dawes sounded like the house band that would be playing as you were drowning your sorrows in a bar.

The set was far from a downer, though. Dawes included selections from its 2009 album, North Hills, and a few new songs, all of which relied on timeless signifiers: flashes of Southern rock, curled twang and folk's gentle strums. The mournful country-soul slow-burner "That Western Skyline" sounded like My Morning Jacket sans reverb; Goldsmith's voice was the sonic equivalent of sandpaper smoothing over rough wood. The newer songs performed (including one called "Fire Away," which Goldsmith says is about supporting a friend even if you don't approve of what they're doing) were much poppier and structured, thanks in part to catchy choruses.

Still, Dawes' three-part harmonies were as effortless as breathing; "When My Time Comes" especially stood out for its grace and solemnity. At times, this emotional bloodletting was overwhelming, if not a tad boring. But the band wasn't afraid to be unpolished: Thumping drums and sparse guitar marked set-closer "Peace in the Valley" - a song mostly full of ghostly, spare atmosphere. As the song neared its end, however, Goldsmith coaxed squalls of noise from his guitar, made some fierce "guitar faces" and contorted his body with stiff movements; in other words, he mimicked Neil Young. This guitar-god homage was fitting, and injected a much-welcome shot of noise and dirt into Dawes' show.

click to enlarge Dawes vocalist Taylor Goldsmith - ANNIE ZALESKI
  • Annie Zaleski
  • Dawes vocalist Taylor Goldsmith

Critic's Notebook: The elegant language in Dawes' lyrics recalled David Bazan's solo work.

By the Way: Dawes had a T-shirt that said "DAWESOME" on the front of it. Excellent.

Tags: , , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of...

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation