Music News & Reviews

Dawes wants to be the Bruce Springsteen of live folk music

From left, Wylie Gelber, Griffin Goldsmith, Taylor Goldsmith and Lee Pardini of Dawes will play DPAC on March 5th.
From left, Wylie Gelber, Griffin Goldsmith, Taylor Goldsmith and Lee Pardini of Dawes will play DPAC on March 5th.

After forming in 2009, the band Dawes finally found mainstream success with the release of their 2015 album “All Your Favorite Bands,” landing at No. 1 on the Billboard Folk Album charts and staking their claim on being the best band within that genre.

Now in the middle of their winter tour, which brings them to Durham Performing Arts Center on Sunday, the group has gone the unusual route of taking on the entirety of each show’s performance with no opening act.

Drummer Griffin Goldsmith says it’s not so much the nightly grind of playing two full sets of songs for sold-out crowds that makes him tired, it’s when he looks at his calendar and realizes it’s going to be a few days before he gets a break.

“There’s definitely been (a moment) of, ‘I wish we had taken a day off before this third show in three days,’ ” Goldsmith says. “It’s exhausting, but we pace ourselves the best we can. We don’t do more than three shows in a row, and usually it’s just two in a row before a day off. We’re not the kind of band that goes out after every show, just partying hard every night on the road, so we take care of ourselves. It’s easy to walk offstage exhausted after a show, but I also think that we are all at a point in our lives where we can handle it.”

On the strength of their critically acclaimed 2016 release “We’re All Gonna Die” – as well as the recent live disc “We’re All Gone Live,” recorded over the first four nights of the current tour – the members of Dawes felt that this year marked a point in the band’s timeline where they could finally take this chance. Looking toward their musical heroes for inspiration, the band members realized that the longer set lists would allow them to fully delve into their past albums and touch on some fan favorites often left out of shorter sets.

“We’ve always envied artists like Bruce Springsteen, where you listen to their records and then go to see them live, and the energy is high for three hours straight and it just becomes this experience,” Goldsmith says. “For us, it was always in the back of our minds; we’ve been on tour with openers where we end up playing ninety minutes, and it just always felt like that wasn’t enough time to represent material from all of our albums, or just what we could do live. We felt like now, with our fifth record having just been released, why not give it a try and see if people dig it?”


Who: Dawes

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham

Cost: $28-$86