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Dawes, Bright Eyes @ The LC (June 8th)

Brian Ahnmark
For L.A.-based rock outfit Dawes, the days of playing sardine-packed dive bars are drawing to a close.

The quartet will open for Bright Eyes on June 8 at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, just one day after releasing sophomore record Nothing Is Wrong – yet another hard-earned step ascending the staircase to national prominence.

Dawes released their debut, North Hills, to quiet acclaim in 2009. Buzz built steadily as the band toured every corner of the United States in the ensuing months, including festival stops at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. Truly, you won't find a more tireless (or Columbus-friendly) band, having visited our fair city four times in the past 17 months.

North Hills mixed acoustic and electric arrangements, a rustic and melodic foundation for principal songwriter Taylor Goldsmith's marvelous wordplay. Nothing Is Wrong picks up where North Hills left off, a confident collection of 11 songs bolstered by months of road-testing. The old axiom – “You've gotta see these guys live!” – may as well have been created for Dawes. Witness Goldsmith's neck veins bulging as he pours himself into a vocal, accompanying his own aggressive and evolving fretwork on guitar; feel brother Griffin Goldsmith's bombastic drumming, which bears little resemblance to the records; tap into Wylie Gelber's ridiculously fluid bass grooves; absorb the tidal wave three-part harmonies and the classically-tinged keyboard leads by Tay Strathairn; sing along with the epic “When My Time Comes,” one of the finest songs written in recent memory.

Granted, the opening slot with Bright Eyes means Dawes will only man the stage for an abbreviated period. But a little Dawes is better than none, and never fear; if history is any indication, the band will be back here on a headlining tour in a couple of months.