Dawes, Blitzen Trapper, and Smoke Fairies at Soho

Oct 11th, 2011 in Music

Once again Dawes delivered the musical goods live at Soho on Saturday, though this time to an adoring, sold-out crowd.  All were awed by Dawes.  Since seeing them late last year at the same venue, they have evolved further and secured their status as one of the best live acts in the game.  Highlights of their set included If I Wanted Someone, Fire Away, When My Time Comes, Million Dollar Bill, Time Spent in Los Angeles, My Way Back Home, and A Little Bit of Everything.

Do yourselves a huge favor and pick up their most recent album, the phenomenal “Nothing is Wrong,” which will undoubtedly finish in our (and many others’) Top Albums of 2011 list.  Taylor Goldsmith and the boys are honing their songwriting skills (particularly the lyrics), and Taylor stands to become one of our best songwriters if the current trajectory continues.

Check out a few videos of Dawes live performances below.

Here’s a sweet acoustic version of My Way Back Home:

And here’s another acoustic version (of great new song, If I Wanted Someone), followed by an electrifying electrified version of the same song:

And finally, check out Dawes, with Jackson Browne and Jonathan Wilson, performing our “Favorite Ballad” of 2011, Million Dollar Bill.

Blitzen Trapper is the titular “co-headliner” with Dawes on the bands’ current tour together, but BT opened Saturday second-billed, and they couldn’t come close to matching the dead-on Dawes.  Blitzen Trapper’s set began countrified and then segued into a (very derivative) blues-rock/heavy theme that left us completely cold.  We’ve seen and heard this mix too many times before (and frankly if we wanted this melange, we’d just stay home and listen to our old Savoy Brown/James Gang/Humble Pie records or go to a roadhouse bar somewhere–and that’s not happening given the ever-expanding universe of more interesting music available).  And unlike Dawes, whose songs begin but then take-off from the ’70s sounds of Laurel Canyon, Blitzen Trapper doesn’t seem to elevate beyond their influences.  The audience didn’t seem to mind the Retromania, however, and their well-played instrumentals were well-received by the crowd.

Update:  We now know that luck was with us in Santa Barbara.  It appears that the two “co-headliners” are alternating at the headlining position, and last night in Phoenix Dawes was second-billed and played a scant 10 songs with no encore, while Blitzen Trapper headlined and played 18 songs.  Lucky us.  Unfortunate for Phoenix, and a true crime for Dawes’ fans (and the entire audience) there.

Opening up were the far more interesting Smoke Fairies from London.  To these ears, they were an interesting mix of PJ Harvey and Joanna Newsom, with nice fingerpicked and slide guitar touches.  Keep an eye on this duo.  They seem to be onto something.  We can’t wait to catch them backed by a full band.  Check out some videos below.


  • Good to have confirmed on The Smoke Fairies front. Can’t wait to catch them with in full band format.

    Anon, we hope that you see them on a night when Dawes, not Blitzen Trapper, is the headliner. In Phoenix last night, Dawes was second billed and only played 10 songs with no encore. Say your prayers.


  • I’ve only seen Dawes live twice so far: once as a headlining act (and one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen in my life) and once as the opening act for Brett Dennen. As you can imagine, the energy of their own show, playing to their own fans, was insane. I can’t wait to see them play a nice long set in a couple of weeks.

    I’m only sorry to say that I won’t be seeing The Smoke Fairies open for them as they are leaving the tour the night before I see Dawes. I’ve seen TSF twice: once with a band and Pete Roe (an accomplished London musician in his own right, check him out) and they were opening for Laura Marling (they were her backing band on her “I Speak Because I Can” tour) and a year later just the two of them in the famed folk venue, Club Passim, with no more than 30 people in the room. I much preferred them in a band but as they were only doing a couple of headlining dates in North America (Toronto, New York and Boston), I’m sure it wasn’t feasible to tow along the whole band. The minute I saw them open for Marling, I came home and downloaded everything they had up at itunes. I even ordered their latest cd “Through Low Light and Trees” from England as I wasn’t sure when it was going to be released stateside. It’s now on iTunes, so go and buy it, it’s fantastic.

    Thanks for the review! Can’t wait to see Dawes!


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