The LA rock band Dawes kicked off their tour and rocked out a powerful set to close out a wildly expansive whiskey tasting exposition put on by the touring hooch festival WhiskyX at Brooklyn’s Industry City on Wednesday night, and it proved to be a wickedly fun party. Dawes formed well over a decade ago, and early on they were known for being pretty high-energy post-punkers, but after some lineup changes, they became the harmonically heavy folky anthem rock band that we all needed through these past several rather tough years. The band of brothers guitarist/frontman Taylor and drummer Griffin Goldsmith, along with bassist Wylie Gelber and keyboardist Lee Pardini, released one of my favorite discs of 2020 called Good Luck with Whatever. They have seemly kept going through the pandemic as well, recently playing Mexico with The Killers among other crazy travels, but the band just released a new single from their upcoming album Misadventures of Doomscroller, due to release on July 22, and they are clearly changing gears to get revved up for their next large-scale headlining tour.
As far as the whiskey tasting part of the night, I don’t pretend to be an expert, just an enthusiast, and I couldn’t even get close to tasting every one of the over 60 different vendors, let alone all the vintages and mixed drinks that they all offered, but I did stagger away with some favorites. The Glenn Moray 15 year old was exquisite, with a dark chocolate and fruity spice flavor, and very amplified by aging; this Scotch whisky was a perfect single malt to blow my mind. The Classic Laddie by the Bruichladdich Distillery was a gorgeously oaky but extremely smooth delight. The Corn Trooper Bourbon had hints of caramel and maple and knew how to hit you just right. I also spent extensive amounts of time at the Hudson Whiskey, Makers Mark, and Jim Beam stands enjoying all their bourbons, ryes, and all their finest distilled delights. On top of all the great whiskey and giveaway goody swags, the WhiskyX festival has lots of other goodies to enjoy from including lots of tasty food vendors, copious games and activities, a free hair and beard trimming center, a cigar lounge with free smokes, and best of all, they always come packing a big musical artist to round out the party.
Dawes did play a shorter, more festival-sized set with only eight songs. However, it was songs like their spellbinding opener “Someone Else’s Cafe or Doomscroller Tries to Relax” which is their new sprawling 10-minute new single that really made me forget time exists with its epic swells and crescendos, and after an evening full of whiskey, I could hardly be blamed for letting myself get carried away. Still, they played a pretty wide mix of their catalogue, and it picked up some steam towards the end with some of their earlier spunk like their hit “When My Time Comes” from their first album North Hills, and they capped the night off with their biggest country-rockin’ anthem song thus far called “A Little Bit of Everything” that really spelled out what the night meant to me with great lines like “His server asks him, Have you figured out yet, what it is you want? I want a little bit of everything.” Dawes have shows scheduled through late September, including quite a few festivals, and will also open for Phil Lesh & Friends and also have a string of dates with The Head and The Heart. WhiskyX will also be coming to a town near you this summer, including a show in Nashville in September that will aptly include The Drive-By Truckers in the party.
Article/Images: Dean Keim