Every now and then, if we’re lucky, we will see a performance that transcends everything else. Something that settles in our bones and stays there, remaining unfaded or touched by memory’s haphazard way of diminishing overtime. Although last week in Delaware (03-07-2017), Dawes played the kind of show that is sure to have lodged itself in the minds of everyone with a ticket stub. Leaning deep into their catalogue, they fed off the energy rushing through the aisles at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House, filling the room with clean harmonies, searing solos and highly perceptive lyrics that often delivered the messages of their songs with an eloquence that matched their surroundings.
Adorned with a stunning attention to detail, the Grand’s soft colors and Masonic art wasn’t lost in the dark once the lights came down and bassist Wylie Gelber, singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, keyboardist Lee Pardini and touring guitarist Trevor Menear appeared to a thunderous round of applause. The glow from the stage along with the occasional flicker from an usher’s flashlight meant that the scope of the venue was never really obscured at all, brightening the intimate space in a way that underscored the closeness between the audience and the band. “We’re all in this together,” Goldsmith had even said at one point, putting words to that connection just after he asked if everyone was having a good time. Although with cheers frequently punctuating song intros and set in stone smiles lining each row of seats, the answer to the guitarist’s question seemed to have been as clear as the bell that had launched their earlier performance of “When The Tequila Runs Out.” Acting less like an instrument and more like a catapult into a seductively bruising chord progression, that bell unleashed a charge that spread throughout the theater like wildfire. And if you kept still for long enough, it was just one of the many tracks that you could feel the crowd stomp their feet along to, blissfully mimicking the kick drum with a steady beat that was all their own. Yet for every instance of unbridled energy, there were times when the audience soaked up a purely sublime arrangement in rapt silence, unwilling to do so much as blink for fear that a detail would be missed.
On each date of their current tour, titled, “An Evening With Dawes,” the band plays a marathon of a show, and Delaware had proved to be no different. Pulling a number of songs from each of their five studio albums to fill two packed sets, they recreated the aching, soulful air surrounding songs like “Million Dollar Bill,” “Roll Tide” and “Now That It’s Too Late, Maria,” with the same ease they brought to the cutting rock of “Roll with the Punches” and “Things Happen.” Although whether they were running through the rollicking “Hey Lover,” or reveling in the madcap energy that swirls through “From A Window Seat,” each song they performed was linked by its acute, three dimensional storytelling and individual mood. Those elements spill into it all, making the combination of their music and lyrics feel emotionally articulate and moving in a way that conversation rarely is on it’s own. Yet during a show full of such highlights, nothing seemed to have moved the audience quite as deeply as “A Little Bit of Everything.” Inviting a new round of cheers after every chorus, each intersecting storyline lead to it’s own unique resolution, though none as powerfully as the song’s third section. Built around an upcoming wedding, the scene describes a bride to be as she’s preparing invitations and telling her fiancé not to worry when he questions whether she’s having any fun. “I think that love is so much easier than we realize,” Goldsmith sang, strumming his acoustic before raising one hand in the air and breaking out into a smile. “If you can give yourself to someone than you should.”
Article: Caitlin Phillips