Live Review: Dawes

Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Nov. 21, 2009
Review by David Chiu

When Dawes, a four-piece California band, performed live recently at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC this past Saturday, they seem to betray the sound on latest record North Hills. Don’t get the wrong idea—that is meant as a compliment to a band who was recently cited in Rolling Stone as breaking. Their music from that album, which is very steeped in soulful country rock, is fine. But as Dawes played the songs onstage, the music seemed to resonate exponentially.

The band — vocalist/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffen Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber and keyboardist Alex Casnoff — played only eight songs but they certainly made the most of their brief set of songs from their debut album; and the energy from the band seemed to gradually increase over the course of the show. It started off with the slow rocker of “That Western Skyline,” and later followed by the subdued “Love Is All I Am” and “If You Let Me Be Your Anchor,” a tender love song with a country groove. From there Dawes really kicked it up a notch with “When My Time Comes,” which was the most uptempo number at that point and a highlight. Peace in the Valley provided the climax with some great playing by all the musicians, particularly Griffen on the drums.

One can’t help draw some similarities between Dawes and another quartet from California known for their Southern-influenced rock: Creedence Clearwater Revival. In fact one of the songs performed at the show, “God Rest My Soul,” has a chugging feel that is reminiscent of a classic tune from John Fogerty and the boys. But as their music and stage presence demonstrated at this particular show, Dawes have also forged their own identity.

Photos by David Chiu (from camera phone)


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