If you are unaccustomed to the Laurel Canyon sound, you most likely were not raised by hippie/west coast parents. The sound was purveyed by artists like Jackson Browne or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Neil Young.
Laurel Canyon sits right near the Pacific Ocean, and the songs within the genre evoke the feeling that one gets while just out of earshot of the waves – relaxation and contentment.
That brief introduction to the genre is necessary to understand how Dawes fits into the musical landscape. It is a purely vintage band, touring on a sound that has been explored decades prior.
And yet, they are not only relevant as artists, they have created a devout following for themselves that was clearly on display at 930.
Dawes is a tight band, meaning they have forged their sound through hours of live performances. Their reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the business has earned them the respect of Jackson Browne and John Fogarty.
Lead singer Taylor Goldsmith appears to approach his set with tenacious determination. It is an experience to grind out.
The band did not look flawless and free onstage. They looked sweaty and gritty even while their sound filled the room with warmth. Their image never being the priority, Dawes avoided the glitz and tricks of modern touring rock bands, settling for an elite music experience instead. At their core, the gentlemen in Dawes are storytellers.
The moment of the evening that stands out strongest for me is when the band played the song “A Little Bit of Everything.” The ballad, way too somber to play in an office setting, tells the stories of a man considering suicide, an older man whose son has died, and a woman nervous about getting married. It is a message of resiliency and love told over a soft guitar captured best by the lyrics about the old man.
I want a little bit of everything
The biscuit and the beans
Whatever helps me to forget about
The things that brought me to my knees
So pile on those mashed potatoes
Have an extra chicken wing
I’m have having a little bit of everything
Most bands would hide an intense ballad somewhere in the middle of their set. No sense in ruining momentum with a downer. Dawes chose to stick the ballad at the end of their set. The crowd went ballistic.
Looking around the club you saw people locking arms and singing in unison. Singing together of times we’ve all shared – the harder times, the trials of everyday life – and the knowledge that we all come out of them. The song built to a crescendo as the Goldsmith brothers jammed every ounce of life out of the ballad. The set ended and the band left the stage. Somewhere, just beyond the club, you could faintly hear the ocean.