Dawes At Beacon Theatre, March 10th, 2017, Reviewed
Dawes is a band that falls in the lineage of the greats of LA rock – CSN, the Eagles, and Jackson Browne. They’re currently the best practitioners of the genre, as CSN seems to have finally imploded, Glenn Frey sadly took up dying, and Browne’s more recent work hasn’t been quite up to snuff. Dawes fits the formula of great, literate songwriting, beautiful vocal harmonies and instrumental virtuosity.
The band played the Beacon on 3/10 for the first time, and they were clearly thrilled to be there. Front man Taylor Goldsmith was bouncing around the stage like a caffeinated monkey when he wasn’t on mic. Dawes gave a terrific performance featuring songs from throughout their career in front of an enthusiastic full house.
The backbone of this type of music is the songs, and Dawes delivers the good. Their lyrics are clever and often heartfelt. Goldsmith is not afraid to take his time making a point lyrically or musically. Occasionally the melodies sound the same, but this is a minor quibble. Another key part of LA rock is the harmonies. I always am afraid that the blend of voices on the records won’t sound as good live, but this was certainly not the case here. Taylor’s brother Griffin is Dawes’s secret weapon, providing spot on vocal harmonies as he plays the drums. He took the lead vocal on a few songs, sporting decidedly unhip overalls.
Duane Betts (Dickey’s son) shared guitar duties with Taylor, and as his Allman pedigree suggests, their two guitar attack was sometimes reminiscent of his namesake. Lee Padroni on keyboards also played and sang beautifully, but the real standout instrumentally was bassist Wylie Geiber, who played complex but propulsive bass lines throughout.
For me, the best performances were “A Little Bit of Everything” which brought the audience to its feet; the ethereal harmonies on “My Way Back Home”; and the hard rocking life-in-the- fast-lane party anthem “When The Tequila Runs Out”.
For its encore Dawes played “All Your Favorite Bands”, a gorgeous benediction of a song. The smile on Goldsmith’s face as the audience sang the song’s chorus back to him as the show closed was worth the price of admission.