Islington Assembly Hall
It is 3 years since Dawes have been to the U.K and 4 years since I last saw them. Boy, have they been busy while they’ve been away. A growing fan base in the U.S (us Brits ‘got’ them first, which is why they played here a lot in the early days), a support slot with ELO and hundreds of gigs has meant that the band which almost sprinted on stage last night are now a tight, confident unit. Lee Pardini has developed into a wonderful keyboard player (one of his piano solos even had singer Taylor Goldsmith applauding), the rhythm section of drummer Griffin Goldsmith and bassist Wylie Gelber have become a rumbling steam train and Taylor’s guitar playing has gone up several notches. In short, this band have paid their dues in spades, and are now reaping the rewards.
The 1200 capacity venue was sold out and the roar after the first song told the band everything they wanted to know about whether the London audience was still there for them. Taylor bounced around the stage like the Duracell bunny, the harmonies were straight and true and the audience sang their heads off.
And why wouldn’t you? Taylor Goldsmith is one heck of a songwriter. The melodies are wonderful and he has a way with words that always keeps you listening. The setlist was a Greatest Hits tour through their 10 year history, with newer songs like Living In The Future and Crack The Case sitting perfectly amongst classics like A Little Bit of Everything and When My Time Comes. 16 songs raced by in the 100 minute set and, too soon, it was over.
A good mix of Afterword friendly punters (and some Afterworders themselves) as well as some young people. They were noisy, sang well (so well that, when Taylor wasn’t expecting them to, he had to remove his ear-monitor so that he could hear what was going on) and left happy, with Taylor’s yell ringing in their ears,
“We’re not waiting 3 years to come back next time.”
It made me think..
Dawes have been my favourite American band for years. I have seen them 7 or 8 times, from rough around the edges, folksy, ‘just glad to be here’ to this – a powerful, muscle-car of a band, confident that they are really, really good.
And they are.