Dawes - This four-piece is co-headlining on this tour and played a full hour-long set. They fit in with the California style of Americana and you would probably get the same feeling here as you would at a Band of Horses/Low Anthem/Gary Louris show as well. Steady rhythms and nice keyboard punctuations add to the vocal and guitar melodies. The guitar work is sharp and goes from simple runs to more jagged Neil Young moves at times. Their are some nice pop hooks and one song had me really thinking I was listening to Colin Blunstone sing a new song with the Zombies. They had a singer named Johnny Corndawg join them for a couple of songs. I was skeptical but the first one was excellent. The second one was a cappella and a little more bland, but it was a nice touch. Things like this are fun for the band and for those of us that see a lot of bands and like a few surprises beyond playing the latest album and a few hits. There are an awful lot of bands that sound like Dawes and several I like better. But there are a significantly larger number that I do not like as well.
Blitzen Trapper - These five guys are a good partner for Dawes, especially on this tour since their latest album has an even rootsier Americana approach than their previous album (both of which I reviewed for Folkworld magazine). After a couple more recognizable cuts, the band cut into their new one and really brought the songs to life. It really enhanced the songs tremendously and was a good reminder of why you should see a band live when you can. There are many albums that are good and you can recognize quality, but some do not fully resonate with you to the point you want to play them over and over. Usually, as what happened here, the live setting allows at least the better musicians to have some fun and pump some volume and maybe even a bit more heart into the material. At least that is how I felt with what I was hearing tonight. Blitzen Trapper remains a favorite of mine on the indie circuit as they have a great balance of creativity and gutsy heartland style . And this was a sell-out, so I am hardly telling too many people anything they don't already know. Funny though, there was a lot more space tonight than there was at the Damned show which was not sold-out (although it may have eventually sold-out with the walk-up crowd).
Quote of the Night: Well earlier in the day as I went to get my cat his heart pills...
"Here's a prescription for my cat."
"OK, your cat's birthday?"
"Uh, no one knows, probably April '04"
"And he's in our system?"
"Yes his name is Tam Lin, but should be under my name."
"No, it's not there, maybe under T... no, is Lin his last name?"
"Well, no but try that."
"Here it is in L... Tam Lin"