“We aren’t kidding when we say the Twin Cities is like a second home to us” Said Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith between songs last night. “I’ll never forget our first tour through here, and for some fucked up reason we sold out First Avenue! You guys keep showing up, and it means a lot to us.”
Goldsmith has always had a way with words, and that includes captivating the audience with more than just his songwriting. It’s a point for any band to talk about how good a city or an audience is when on tour, but there’s much more genuine gratitude when Dawes tells us they love us. They show it in their playing, too.
Dawes returned to the Twin Cities for the first time since 2021 on their “Misadventures of Doomscroller” tour, named after their latest release. “Doomscroller” has been out for about a year now, but many of the songs had been road tested before the release of their album, including their last stop here at First Avenue. Die hard Dawes fans are familiar with the newer tracks and treated them just as well as many of their earlier, more worn in songs.
Dawes have been around for around 13 years now, with a string of albums and tour dates behind them that qualify the band for tenure. Outside of the new album, what’s special about this run of shows is that it’s bassist Wylie Gelber’s last run of shows with the band before leaving to focus on being a Luthier. Wylie has become a well known name for building guitars and bass’s in southern California, where he’ll be focusing on building his instruments. Dawes announced his departure in late February, and while band members and fans are sad to see Gelber off the road, “..change always leads to some kind of newfound strength and Dawes isn’t going anywhere, I promise.” penned Taylor Goldsmith in the official announcement.
Both Wylie and touring guitarist Trevor Meaner sported Gelber & Sons creations on stage Saturday night, while Goldsmith wore his trusted telecaster for most songs. Throughout the night, Dawes displayed their musical prowess, with both Meaner’s guitar playing and keyboardist Lee Pardini’s skillful piano solos always standing out on songs where they could let loose. But it was their chemistry as a band that truly shone. Their tight harmonies and seamless transitions between songs were a testament to their years of playing together. You’d be hard pressed to find a wrong note or a missed beat from any of them.
Even the crowd seemed to be more involved than they usually are, perhaps many aware of Wylie’s upcoming departure and making the most of these last shows of this Dawes lineup. One of the highlights of the night was their performance of “When My Time Comes”, a fan-favorite from 2009’s album of North Hills. before the band launched into the chorus, a fan even yelled the count in during the rest in the song, before the crowd erupted in a sing-along, filling the venue with a sense of communal joy. It was a beautiful moment, and one that the band seemed to relish as much as we did – if not more. At one point, during Trevor Meaner’s guitar solo on “Didn’t fix me”, I watched as a older Palace Theatre security guard, who was mostly serious throughout the night, threw his hand up with a smile on his face. Like many of us, so much of this music is exactly what we needed to hear.
Dawes brought back their “Evening with” style format, two full sets with a brief intermission, filling nearly three hours of music with 20 songs spanning their catalog. Outside of the jammy “Doomscroller” tracks, The band really let it rip on “Feed The Fire” and “From a Window Seat.” Starting off the second set, Taylor Goldsmith performed a couple songs solo on acoustic guitar, including a new, not yet released song called “House Parties”, which had the crowd cheer at their favorite line of the song that described different rooms of a house party. “Back porches with Bowie fans, Spilled drinks on a baby grand, Good weed with Joni fans..” sang Goldsmith. A humorous part of the song is where he sung a line about Kanye West. It’s atypical for a Dawes song to get deeply controversial, and it received audible gasps from the audience before Goldsmith completed the verse “Who cares about what that guy says?” to perhaps the loudest cheer of the night. What a thrill it must be to sing that to an audience who doesn’t know the song yet. An exercise of trust in songwriting.
The night ended with Goldsmith returning solo for an acoustic rendition of “Things Happen”, an apt encore from the band, ending the night on a song with themes of self-reflection, honesty, and acceptance of life’s challenges. “We’ll keep coming back if you keep coming back” said Goldsmith before signing off for the night. If the crowd at the Palace Theatre is anything to go by – Dawes will absolutely be back again.