Dawes at Maxwell’s, 12/7/2011 Review

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Well, this makes two posts about the same band fairly close together, but you know what?  I don’t even care.  You want a wide variety of editorial content centered around pop culture and bands who dress like homeless crackheads set loose in a party store, then go watch Morning Joe.  OK?  Glad we’re past that.

After the Dawes show at Webster Hall, two very small shows were announced at Maxwell’s, one of the 3 greatest venues in the New York metropolitan area.  If you have never been, Maxwell’s is a hidden gem in Hoboken, NJ, a mile square city of dudes in white baseball hats who work in finance.  It became famous in the 90’s, hosting bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, and approximately 2 billion others.  Hoboken had a vibrant music scene at the time, yes, I know it’s surprising if you look at it now.

Maxwell’s has a feel like no other.  It is not filled with pretentious people, the food is actually good, and the drinks are not expensive.  On this particular evening, I trekked the 12 blocks north in the pouring rain from the PATH, and Joe Strummer’s “Coma Girl” was on the juke box.  I took this as a good omen. I had an extra ticket, and the doorman found me a person looking for one.  That’s not going to happen in Manhattan.

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The feel of the show was a bit ragtag, in a good way.  The band seemed relaxed, maybe they had enjoyed a few beverages, not over rehearsed, again, all in a good way.  It was like seeing your friends band play a local bar.  But not like that friend’s band who takes themselves too seriously and just wants to rip 15 minute solos over “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  More like those guys you think “I feel kind of lucky to be seeing this”

One thing I seemed to have missed at the recent Webster Hall show is what great technical musicians these guys are.  There were quite a few guitar solos by Taylor Goldsmith, but none were gratuitous, all supporting the melody, not just mindless shredding.  Great interplay between all of the musicians, lots of listening going on.  Also great bass lines.  Almost reggae sounding – not in the bouncy Bob Marley way, but in the “the bass feels like a giant blanket engulfing me with happiness” way.

Also, I’ll bet that bass player listens to a lot of Lee Sklar, the famed LA studio musician, most known for his work with Jackson Browne.  Browne has been hanging around with Dawes recently, they played a song at Occupy Wall St together.  I mean, that relationship is probably good for all involved.  Browne gets an excellent young group of musicians, Dawes learns from one of the master American songwriters, we all get to hear the results, and I’m sure the environment and foreign economies benefit as well somehow.

I’d love to see what the future holds for a band like this.  They put on a great live show, and their first album was fantastic (I haven’t fully explored their latest release.)  Maybe a collaboration album with Browne?  A random cover?  I feel like a live EP would be a great idea, just record it at any of these shows, the entire crowd singing “When My Time Comes”  you can’t feel left out.  Thats just my two cents, I’ll send you an invoice for the consultation fee.

On the way home, I wasnt going to walk the 11 blocks in the rain once again, so I hailed a Hoboken Cab ($5 flat rate anywhere in the city!)  Annnnd….this was the interior:

Hoboken Cab

You really can’t ask for more than flashing Christmas lights inside your cab on a rainy Wednesday night.