I Started to Smile Again


Once again I went to see the band Dawes as they tour supporting their most recent album, We’re All Gonna Die. They’re calling this set of concerts “An Evening With Dawes” and it is just that. No opening band and a lengthy set that is broken into two parts by an intermission (or you could call it two sets).  Last time I saw them was in Santa Barbara in January, which I recapped in the post “Take Me Out of the City.” This time I saw their sold out show at Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on April 1, 2017. My experience was colored by my disappointment in both AXS and the theatre’s lack of handling a ticketing/seating issue to my approval despite repeated attempts in the weeks before and on the day of the show (made worse as I watched others around me get re-seated), which I won’t go into detail here.  I felt dejected and invisible as I sat in the second to last row in the theatre as the band kicked off their show. This was also night four of my going to concerts four nights in a row and I was pretty tired too. As I was so far back, I ended up not taking very many photos of the band.  When the show began, I realized that now that no one was sitting behind me I could stand during the show if I wanted and it wouldn’t bother anyone else, so it turned into a mixed blessing.  Soon the band’s music was pulling me out of my personal funk and making me grateful that I had the opportunity to see them live once again.

Dawes Performing at Theatre at Ace Hotel

Dawes is comprised of band members Taylor Goldsmith on guitar and lead vocals, Griffin Goldsmith on drums, Wylie Gelber on bass, and Lee Pardini on piano. Trevor Menear brings additional support on lead guitar and they also had another guy (possibly named Mike, I was too far away to be able to tell if it was the same person that was with them in September) playing various percussion instruments. The set list for the night was as follows:

  1. One of Us” from We’re All Gonna Die
  2. Fire Away” from Nothing is Wrong, after the song Taylor commented, “We got a long night ahead of us” before introducing Griffin Goldsmith.
  3. From a Window Seat” from Stories Don’t End
  4. Right On Time” from All Your Favorite Bands, this link (and a few of the other links for this set) is to a live version the band recorded and released from this “An Evening with Dawes” tour called We’re All Gonna Live and includes the gorgeous introduction on piano by Lee Pardini. After this song, Taylor said, “So we put out a new record” as they launched into the next song from the new album.
  5. Picture of a Man” from We’re All Gonna Die, this is the song I like least from the new album, but there is something about the arrangement on the live version that makes it more palatable.
  6. Now That It’s Too Late, Maria” from All Your Favorite Bands
  7. Roll With the Punches” from All Your Favorite Bands, Taylor described this song as, “About the minutiae of departing.” Since it was a heavyhearted subject, he noted they tried to “make it as dance-y as we could.”
  8. Somewhere Along the Way” from All Your Favorite Bands, they probably should always play this song after the previous song, because at some point most people are gonna break up with someone and this song sends the much needed message that eventually it’s gonna be okay. I really love these lines from the song and have borrowed a phrase from them for the post title: “Somewhere along the way, I started to smile again, I don’t remember when; somewhere along the way, things will turn out just fine, I know that it’s true this time.”
  9. A Little Bit of Everything” from Nothing is Wrong, the crowd really started getting into the concert at this point, I found it a bit of a buzz killer that they played a new song immediately after it and then took a short intermission (really short, I think at last a third of the audience was still in the lobby).
  10. Less Than Five Miles Away” from We’re All Gonna Die

    Griffin, Taylor, and Lee of Dawes On Stage After Intermission
  11. INTERMISSION “Crack the Case” new song sung by Taylor alone on stage with his acoustic guitar, link is to video that someone took at this concert. Really thoughtful lyrics, please check it out.
  12. Roll Tide” from We’re All Gonna Die, Griff came to the front of the stage to sing this one, Lee also joined for added harmony and tambourine, link is to video that someone took at this concert (not the best visual, but audio is decent enough, apart from a moment of talking).
  13. Bedside Manner” from North Hills, great to hear a deep cut, link is to video that someone took at this concert.
  14. Quitter” from We’re All Gonna Die, this is my favorite song from the new album and it sounds fantastic live every time I’ve heard it.
  15. Coming Back to a Man” from Nothing is Wrong
  16. From the Right Angle” from Stories Don’t End, Taylor prefaced this one by saying the song was, “About getting hit on by someone in a rock and roll band. Maybe after listening to this song you will feel more prepared in how you want to deal with the situation.” Hmm.
  17. If I Wanted Someone” from Nothing is Wrong, Dawes was playing in their hometown and Taylor started listing all of the family members that were attending the show, such as his mom, brother, cousins, etc. Then he said, “That’s how we sell this shit out, half this place is fucking family!”
  18. When the Tequila Runs Out” from We’re All Gonna Die
  19. Things Happen” from All You’re Favorite Bands
  20. Most People” from Stories Don’t End, Taylor then said something like, “Live music is the only experience (where you can be) dancing and being weirdos and making friends. I feel like we did a lot of work tonight.” He then mentioned that it had been about a month since Chuck Berry had passed and that if it weren’t for Berry, there would be no Rolling Stones (and he listed various other influential bands too) and definitely no Dawes. He played a few of Chuck Berry’s runs on his guitar. Then Taylor said, “If you remember anything from tonight let it be this…” as he played the next tune.
  21.  “Still Gonna Die” the live intro to the following song, the link is to the version from We’re All Gonna Live
  22. We’re All Gonna Die” from We’re All Gonna Die, turned out to be the last song of the set. Come on guys, you can’t end on that depressing note.
  23. ENCORE “All You’re Favorite Bands” from All You’re Favorite Bands, that’s more like it.  When they came back onstage for the encore Taylor noted, “We only have time for one more (or) they’ll fine the shit out of us! Thanks for making our dreams come true.” Nice piano introduction to this song by Lee, which you can hear on the link to the live version they’ve been doing on this tour. The whole audience were on their feet and singing along for this final anthem.

No matter the progression of their music style, Taylor’s lyrics consistently bring a smile to my face. Check out their album offerings on iTunes and you can be smiling too.

Dawes Performing at Theatre at Ace Hotel