Natalie Maines and Dawes at the Moody Theater

dawesI’ll probably get killed for this, but one of the coolest things I saw on our first night at SXSW happened during the Natalie Maines set. As you might know, Maines is the former frontwoman on The Dixie Chicks but has branched off on her own since then. The band really sounded nothing like her former one – not only were there a lot more players, they were all incredible musicians. Take, for instance, how they closed their set. Maines brought out her father, Lloyd, who is a Grammy winner in his own right, to play what can only be described as a slide guitar duel against her regular slide and electric player. That other player was Ben Harper. They ended the song by trading solos for about five minutes. It would hard to describe tge virtuosic performance on both of tgeir parts, but suffice to say I’d never seen anyone play slide like that.

Another pretty awesome experience was closing the night out with Dawes. Their set time had been pushed back to 1am and by the time they came on there was less than 100 people left in the audience. Despite the small crowd, Dawes played a typically amazing show. Blending their earlier albums with crowd pleasing new material, they kept everyone moving (against their sleep-deprived bodies’ wishes) with that sweet, sweet Laurel Canyon sound. They sent the Dawes faithful out into the early morning air of Austin by finishing their set with the still-amazing “Little Bit of Everything.” The small and somewhat delerious crowd belted out every word with the band. I can’t think if a better way to have ended the first night than with what essentially amounted to a private show from one of favorites bands.

By Bentley J. Holt

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