Live Review: Dawes

Live Review: Dawes.

Dawes  ||  The Bullingdon Arms, Oxford  ||  Sunday 15th July

Unavoidable delays meant we missed the undoubted delights of Jonny Corndawg as support to Laurel Canyon’s Dawes, and by the time we squeezed into the back of a packed Bully, the main attraction were already taking centre stage.

Still riding high on the acclaim for last year’s excellent Nothing Is Wrong release, which featured in many “Best of 2011” lists, the ever discerning Loose Music have recently released their US debut North Hills for the first time in the UK too. Evoking the best of 70s sunshine rock washed through with the influences of Neil Young, Jackson Browne and The Eagles, Dawes clearly have already gathered a small army of devotees for tonight’s show.

And tonight we get plenty from both records. Scenes of lost loves, dusty landscapes and distant skylines are set out early with openers My Girl To Me, The Way That You Laugh and How Far We’ve Come. The easygoing swagger and huge chorus of When My Time Comes is also unleashed early, the anthem swelled further by the buoyant voices in the crowd in full throated support. The mood is one of swaying, good-humoured bonhomie, lyrics are mouthed, eyes are closed, heads nod in unison, even the odd air guitar lick is (unconsciously) showcased.

Live Review: Dawes. The set is marked by an unhurried poise and suppleness. Mature and supremely easy throughout in their country rock uniform of check shirts, frayed, faded denim and scuffed cowboy boots. They are able to switch from the world-weary campfire reflections of new song Just My Luck to sweetly sung harmonies to the rousing finale of Little Bit of Everything and Time Spent In Los Angeles.

Rapturously welcomed back on stage for their encore, they close with the brilliantly bitter break-up of Million Dollar Bill and then another joyous, crowd-pleasing anthem, the travelogue singalong of My Way Back Home.

Existential Matt (if he fell in the forest would he make a noise?) and I follow the crowd out; slowly and reluctantly they depart with a rich buzz of approval and earnest debate over personal high points.

Dawes mine a rich and fertile seam of classic Americana with an assuredness and grace that is a pleasure to behold. Perhaps the greatest compliment we can pay them is to opine that, in another 30 years time, they’ll be a nailed on staple of the classic rock radio stations of the day.

Both albums are currently on sale for £5 each direct from Loose – get them here.

Download Dawes – Time Spent In Los Angeles mp3 (from This Is Loose, Loose Music Sampler & Nothing Is Wrong)

Download Dawes – Peace In The Valley mp3 (from Uncut’s Americana 2012 & North Hills)

Download Dawes – My Way Back Home (Daytrotter Session) mp3 (from 2010 Daytrotter Session)

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