Los Angeles band Dawes is on a nonstop, nationwide tour this year in support of the newest album, Stories Don’t End. The tour, which crisscrossed the U.S. all spring and will continue through the summer, has an unofficial count of 17 total shows in Austin.
Here’s the quick math on that count. The band played 14 shows during SXSW, including headlining the last night of South By San Jose on South Congress. From there, Dawes played 32 shows across the country, from Vermont to Virginia, Oregon to Ohio. Now Dawes pulls back into Austin for an end of May pit stop at Austin360 Amphitheater with The Avett Brothers and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. To top it off, C3 Presents added the band to both weekends of the Austin City Limits Festival in October.
“Austin’s been great for us," said drummer Griffin Goldsmith. Goldsmith, who spoke to CultureMap while in Colorado for a few headlining gigs, said the band tries to cater to the cities that “show them love” and that Austin has been an enthusiastic crowd. He couldn’t put a finger on what exactly makes Austin such a supportive destination, but noted that the group has had a lot more radio exposure here.
Goldsmith called Austin a “musician’s town,” one where bands play to a higher standard because fans have the choice to see local talent play anywhere, any night of the week. He cited Nashville and Los Angeles as similar places. (Dawes will play the huge Ryman Auditorium in June, which Goldsmith proudly noted is almost sold out.)
To that point, Dawes is definitely a musician’s band. Bob Dylan picked the band to tour with him this spring. Dawes has also spent time on the road with Mumford & Sons, Robbie Robertson of The Band and Jackson Browne, a favorite songwriter of the collective group. “It’s amazing, these are our heroes,” Goldsmith said. “It still blows my mind.”
It's not surprising that the band is often compared to the musicians from its heroes’ era. Critics and fans often compare Dawes to the music that came from the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of L.A. in the '60s and '70s. Stories Don’t End, the band’s third album, maintains the well-crafted lyrics of songwriters of that head space (David Crosby and Joni Mitchell came from Laurel Canyon), but adds some of the urgency that came from '70s rock records.
Goldsmith’s confidence in the album and the tour is clear. While the band loves touring with heroes, Dawes looks forward to getting back to headlining gigs and playing two-hour sets. At the same time, Dawes can’t pass on the festival invitations. “It’s awesome to get the offer from ACL," he said proudly.