What am I usually doing on a Tuesday night? Well, there’s usually some grocery shopping after work followed by “Chopped” reruns. But last night, I switched things up, since there was a show in town. It’s nights like these when I feel like a hipper version of myself living in a larger metropolis than York. You can’t beat the convenience of walking to a concert that features three top-notch acts. But on my commute home, I found that the band bus stole my usual parking spot. I’ll let it slide this once.
I’ve seen Dawes twice before. I was there the first time they played York’s Capitol Theatre and in the summer of 2012 when they played Long’s Park in Lancaster. I knew that when they visited York Tuesday, it would be a quality show. I was excited to hear some tunes from their latest album, “Stories Don’t End,” as well as the best hits. The fact that cheap seats were $19 and that there was not one but two openers sweetened the deal. Jonathan Rice continued after his guitar quit and Hayes Carll cracked up the crowd up with his storysongs during his truncated opening slot.
Dawes took the stage with a crisp, jam-filled set. They were admittedly giddy to get the chance to graduate to York’s bigger Strand Theatre, having previously sold out the Capitol. I’m not sure, but that could have been what drew them back to region so soon. They seemed comfortable on the bigger stage. Frontman Taylor Goldsmith said he hoped to make York a regular stop for the group. Let’s hope he sticks to that promise when Dawes graduates to arenas. The band’s trajectory seems to be headed in that direction.
For a writer, Tuesday’s concert was a treat. Carll and Rice pen tunes with interesting and poetic narratives. And the thing about Goldsmith is that he’s a great singer and an even better writer. (His brother, Griffin, is pretty darn good on the drumkit, too.) His songs illuminate the ordinary like few others I’ve heard. The language is honest, plain and flows naturally. That’s probably why it’s easy for audiences to sing along. Dawes’ presentation Tuesday was also stellar. Members flexed their chops with solos, but the set wasn’t overly showy. It was sincere and straight-up rocked. The fact that an act like this can come out of Los Angeles restores my hope for humanity. The fact that I got to see this kind of talent on a Tuesday night in York makes me less concerned about my empty fridge.