LA-based Dawes plays rock without frills

Los Angeles-based Dawes’ straightforward music is reminiscent of 1970s-era Jackson Browne and the Laurel Canyon scene. The band plays the Fillmore on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)Los Angeles-based Dawes’ straightforward music is reminiscent of 1970s-era Jackson Browne and the Laurel Canyon scene. The band plays the Fillmore on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)

Los Angeles-based Dawes’ straightforward music is reminiscent of 1970s-era Jackson Browne and the Laurel Canyon scene. The band plays the Fillmore on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)Los Angeles-based Dawes’ straightforward music is reminiscent of 1970s-era Jackson Browne and the Laurel Canyon scene. The band plays the Fillmore on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)

In an era when stars tweak their voices with Auto-Tune, and never leave the house without tailoring from a high-priced stylist, Los Angeles quartet Dawes is an old-school anomaly.

Songs on “Nothing Is Wrong,” the band’s sophomore recording, are straightforward singalongs that hearken back to 1960s-and-’70s vintage California sound.

The video for the addictive single “Time Spent in Los Angeles” is just as disarming. Filmed for what appears to be a few hundred dollars in an L.A. living room, it features muss-haired, rumple-shirted frontman Taylor Goldsmith playing live for an intimate friends-and-family crowd, plus his then-gal pal who inspired the tune, from whom he separated only last week.

Can such an unlikely outfit succeed without such frills? Goldsmith — who brings Dawes to The City on Tuesday — believes so.

“Considering the kind of guys we are, and the kind of band we are, our music, videos, record covers, everything we’ve ever done has never been conceptualized,” says the singer, whose brother Griffin plays drums in the group.

“Like, just our music itself — it’s not enigmatic, it’s not pretentious. It’s just simple stories, or simple direct lyrics, reflecting direct experiences from a very direct band.”

Dawes is catching on. “Nothing” was tracked in analog by new Laurel Canyon maven Jonathan Wilson, and boasts cameos from Jackson Browne, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench.

Additionally, the group toured with Browne, and backed one of their idols, the Band’s Robbie Robertson, on a rare string of recent appearances.

The whimsical cut “When My Time Comes” was snapped up for advertising use by both HBO and Chevrolet.

Ironically, Goldsmith, 26, grew up on alternative acts, like Spoon and Elvis Costello.

“I had a very limited knowledge of what people refer to as ‘Laurel Canyon music,’” says the composer, who only owned a few token CSN and Neil Young records. “But then, as people said ‘You guys have this Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Warren Zevon kind of thing happening,’ I thought ‘Oh really? Maybe we should dig deeper.’ So that was the first time I ever bought a Jackson Browne album, and then Warren Zevon became my hero.”

Goldsmith’s writing is Zevon-basic, as in “Time”’s chorus: “You got that special kind of sadness/ You got that tragic set of charms.” He says, “Everybody can relate to that sentiment. Like, ‘I like this girl ’cause she’s bad for me — I wish I didn’t, but I do.’

“Our music hinges on the fact that we stay honest,” he says. “If that ever goes away? It would be really transparent to anybody that likes us, and they’ll say, ‘Well, screw those guys!’”

IF YOU GO

Dawes

Co-headlining with Blitzen Trapper

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $25
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com

artsentertainmentmusicPop Music & JazzSan Francisco

Just Posted

ose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014. 
Rose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014.
Willie and Rose: An alliance for the ages

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

City officials have informed the owners of El Farolito, a legendary taqueria that started in the Mission District, that they cannot open a new location in North Beach due to rules against “formula retail.” (Gil Duran/SF Examiner)
Free El Farolito! San Francisco’s North Beach burrito ban must not stand

San Francisco reaches new level of absurdity with ban on famed burrito spot

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski is pictured at bat on July 29 against the Dodgers at Oracle Park; the teams are in the top spots in their league as the season closes. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
With playoff positions on the line, old rivalries get new life

Giants cruised through season, Dodgers not far behind

Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Most Read