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Dawes :: The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery :: All Your Favorite Bands Tour
June 2, 2015 :: Hollywood, California

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For a long while now I’ve wanted to attend an event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. During the year, especially during the Summer months, the famous cemetery hosts movies and live shows, as well as a Dia de los Muertos annual festival. Mostly, though, I have wanted to attend a concert. The opportunity presented itself at the start of June to not only see a band play at the cemetery, but to see one of my all-time favorite bands play there on the very day of their new album’s release. I honestly could not think of a better first time than that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 was definitely Dawes day, and it started out with the purchase and play of their new album, All Your Favorite Bands. Before I even arrived at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery I was already falling hard for the album, twisting lyrical refrains around in my mind, and picking my favorite songs. Those favorites would be harder to choose though, after the show, because I may just love each and every one of them now.

dawes-albumOn arrival, I was greeted the cool early evening breeze and nearly twilight lit sky that cast shadows from the swaying palm trees across the mismatched grave markers and headstones. It was a beautiful sight to take in, and I was half tempted to get lost for a spell wandering around the grounds (I’ve always had a fascination with cemeteries ever since I was a young girl). Alas, my desire to garner a good spot inside for the show outweighed the lure to explore (next time). Instead, I made my way over to the forming line outside the Masonic Lodge, finding myself still fascinated by my surroundings, including the buildings exterior.

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The venue itself, The Masonic Lodge, was something completely unexpected. Warm and welcoming feeling, casual yet somehow kind of pristine, as well, or maybe that’s the wrong word, perhaps special is more like it. It felt exceptional, and I felt lucky to be there. The crowd was a mix of ages and styles, yet everyone was friendly and talked easily among each other, which seeing as I was attending the show alone was refreshing. So many rock crowds lately spend all the pre-show time with their eyes glued to their mobile phones, more interested in social media status updates, than actually being social where they stand. Last night wasn’t like that, though. People were actually talking to each other.

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Maybe it was the closeness we all had to be, as the venue’s main room is quite small, an open floor with some bench seating placed on each side’s wall, and a balcony above with a few rows of seats. The interior was simple, but striking, lights and colors blending in a way that gave the room a feeling of timelessness, and ease. The stage was small and close, as well, covered with the band’s instruments and spare guitars. I watched in wonder and anticipation as the crew came and went, tuning chords, testing sound, and setting out beers for the band.

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When the band took the stage they came in from the crowd which gave over this feeling that we were all included, that we were part of the show. It was a feeling that returned time and again during the show, and that was part of what made this concert one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Dawes opened with the first track off the new album, Things Happen, which is also their first released single from the album. The song has been getting airplay lately, and you could feel the familiarity the crowd had with the song by their enthusiasm, and singing-a-long. Things Happen led into another new song, Don’t Send Me Away.

Things Happen and Don’t Send Me Away
Video credit :: taperjohn

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Taylor Goldsmith

The band went on to play more songs from the new album, as well as fan favorites, the first being the most fitting of songs, Time Spent in Los Angeles, the hometown of the band, and the setting of this first show of the new tour. Lead singer, Taylor Goldsmith, seemed quite happy to be “home” and among friends and fans. The crowd returned the happiness, and then some, with raised voices, screams and cheers, and echoing applause after each song. We all sang together in unison to Time Spent in Los Angeles, and the song, my first introduction to the band (and one of my all-time favorites) was beyond amazing live. The entire show was, really, and it got better and better, exponentially so, as each song was played.

Time Spent in Los Angeles
Video credit :: taperjohn

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Taylor Goldsmith

9Duane Betts
(on-tour guitarist)

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Wylie Gelber

Some of my favorite moments from the show were Dawes’ cover of The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues, new songs Somewhere Along the Way and All Your Favorite Bands (one of the best sing-a-long live songs ever, even listening to it off the album now gives me chills and makes me want to scream/sing-a-long). Also, a huge highlight of the show last night was the total fucking amazing guitar work from Duane Betts. He completely blew me away. His guitar work (see the brilliant guitar solo in the video below) affected me emotionally and physically, and I’ve yet to shake its impact yet. I mean it, I was completely BLOWN AWAY.

Somewhere Along the Way
Video credit :: Stumbletown

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Duane Betts
(on-tour guitarist)
and Tay Strathairn

There were two more great “fan favorite” moments that had the crowd completely singing-a-long. One was When My Time Comes, which elicited so much excitement and voices chorusing along that Taylor swung the mic at us, at one point, so we could take over vocally (see below). It was another one of those moments that embraced the room, and made us feel a part of it all. It was incredible to experience, and my lost voice today certainly shows how much I enjoyed it.

When My Time Comes
Video credit :: taperjohn

On a personal note, my favorite song of Dawes (so far, at least, there are some contenders on this new album, I must say), A Little Bit of Everything, was an emotionally rich and wonderful highlight of the night. It brought tears to my eyes and a flood of memories, and made me so glad I came to the show. The entire show, from start to finish, was amazing. I have been to many shows in my life, live music being one of my most favorite things in the world, so it is not lightly that I say this was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. Ever. I highly recommend if Dawes comes to your area to go out and see them play (tour dates here), and while your at it, go pick up a copy of their new album, All Your Favorite Bands, you won’t regret it.

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Taylor Goldsmith, Tay Strathairn and Griffin Goldsmith

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Tay Strathairn and Wylie Gelber

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Duane Betts
(on-tour guitarist)

Until next time, Dawes and Duane Betts, thank you so much for the night and the music.