Dawes’ upward momentum

Here at Austin City Limits, we love to showcase artists on the rise. Dawes is definitely that – the Los Angeles quartet made waves almost immediately with its 2009 debut album North Hills, and has kept its upward momentum going since.

Taking the stage to a subtle organ bed, Dawes launched into “From a Window Seat,” the first single from its latest LP Stories Don’t End. The sharply melodic, harmony-rich tune set the standard for the rest of the set, which draws from the folk/country rock of the 70s. “If I Wanted Someone” and “Fire Away” rode a midtempo groove, emphasizing the song’s natural tunefulness, while “Someone Will” added a fingerpicked country & western vibe. “Just Beneath the Surface” added some classic pop melodicism, while “Most People” highlighted the brotherly harmonies of leader Taylor Goldsmith and drummer Griffin Goldsmith for some stunning counterpoint vocals. The band was at its best when it folded an epic feel into its songs – the widescreen “Time Spent in Los Angeles” and “When My Time Comes.”  The slow-burning “A Little Bit of Everything” brought the show to a close with a conversational saga that crossed narrative storytelling with stadium folk rock.

Though Dawes left the stage following that crowd-pleaser, it wasn’t done yet. Encore “From the Right Angle” multiplied the grandeur times ten, maintaining the epic feel and letting some unruly rock & roll take the performance into the stratosphere. The crowd understandably went wild. We can’t wait for the rest of you to see how Dawes got the audience fired up when this episode airs this fall. Stay tuned!