Newport Folk Festival: Dawes

The sky had turned from bright and sunny to a discouraging grey as LA’s Dawes took the Fort stage this afternoon, but the main lawn remained dry, barring any repeats of the previous night and allowing for interrupted dancing amongst the audience members. WERS was lucky enough to score an exclusive interview with the band earlier in the day, so catching their live set was the only acceptable next step. Beach balls were already being tossed around the audience when the Americana rock band began their set with “My Girl To Me”, which comes from their first album North Hills. And following that they broke into “How Far We’ve Come” from their other album Nothing Is Wrong.

During the song breaks, frontman Taylor Goldsmith talked about how this year marks the band’s first time performing on Newport’s Fort stage, and explained that the band has played the festival the past two years, but last year’s appearance was a sort of unofficial cameo. The band went on to play “Fire Away” before launching into a song that Goldsmith said was “for all the newcomers” who had never seen Dawes perform before. That song, “When My Time Comes”, turned out to be a sort of special occasion for the audience, as they were not only invited to shout the chorus by themselves, but they also witnessed a surprise in the form of Delta Spirit’s Matt Vazquez, who joined in on vocals and hopped around the stage.

Following that, the band played “If I Wanted Someone” and “A Little Bit Of Everything”, whose sentimental lyrics made me crave a heaping plate of mashed potatoes. Goldsmith then announced that after their tour wraps up this summer (many of their upcoming tour dates, including some of the shows with Mumford & Sons, are already sold out), they’re going to crank out a new album; definitely good news to those in attendance.

Before launching into their final song of the day, “Time Spent In Los Angeles”, Taylor Goldsmith thanked the crowd once more and said, “I just wanted to say this is the coolest festival there is. It feels more like a family reunion than a music festival.”

Considering how Dawes and most other bands at Newport have had other musicians join them onstage for a song or two, Goldsmith makes a really good point. Maybe we’ll even see him again tomorrow, popping up onstage with another band.

By Sarah Ruggiero

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