Dedicated to Andy, Sandi, Lorna and Chase
I want a little bit of everything, the biscuit and the beans. Whatever helps me to forget about the things that brought me to my knees. Did he just sing THAT my brain yelled as I rode down the 405 listening to the best radio station on the planet- KCSN- 88.5. Who on earth is that band and songwriter? Well this was back in the spring, long before SHAZAM was invented, when the only way I knew how to find out who a song belonged to was to Google AZ Lyrics and stick in a snippet quickly before my brain dissolved it altogether. You think texting and driving is bad? Lyric finding is even worse. Do NOT do this kids- ever. Dawes? Really? What a dumb name for an amazingly great band. But for this lyricaholic it didn’t get any better than this song.
The next thought that crosses this fevered brain as it ALWAYS does when I absolutely love a song in a certain genre is, “O Andy should sing this song at his gigs”. It is the litmus test of songwriting greatness to me, since he is without a doubt my favorite singer/songwriter. There are songs every now and then that Andy will cover which he never returns to the original artist, my favorite being Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straights. Not long ago I was wandering down the road and it came on the radio by them and all I could think of was “What a poor version of this song this is”. Anyway I digress.
I immediately wonder if Andy has even heard of them. I so love it when I can turn HIM onto something new, but that doesn’t happen very often. I text him later that day and ask have you every heard this song A Little Bit of Everything by a band called DAWES!! Yes, I love it and them, all in caps, comes back and so on the next nightcap night at Andy’s he regales me with Dawes tales and points me in the direction of the rest of their music. Breathtakingly beautifully written songs the likes of which haven’t come around in decades. Turns out Andy actually learned of them a year or so before while attending an 8th grade field trip with his son Chase to the Grammy Museum and they happened to be the musical guests. That’s what you get when you go to a real school. Me with Max, I get year after year of the Aquarium of the Pacific if we get a field trip at all. So Andy starts Youtubing them and shows me such great songs of theirs like Moon In the Water and Things Happen- now my Dawestime favorite.
This is my year of the concert. Not sure if Chinese astrology has such a year but if they did I certainly would be born in it. The quest now? To see them live of course. I find out they will be playing in August as the opening act for Shaking Alabama or some such act I don’t want to see. Andy and company could not see them at all as they would be away the month of August cruising and then gigging in various other parts of the country. I ask Sandi- new concert BFF since the May Who date(see previous blog post)- if she wants to go but then I change my mind. First, because I actually had one month’s worth of work to do but more important I had NO interest in seeing a band of this caliber as an opening act. We need to wait for them to be the headliner. I did join their mailing list on the website though but not the kind that sends out those cute little colored post cards in the mail.
Sometime in mid-August I get an email from Dawes with the news that they have a new album coming out and they will be doing two Los Angeles appearances in September. The first would be on a Thursday night at little record store in Long Beach and then tickets were going on sale that Friday for another show the next night at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever cemetery. It was a toss up now whether I was more excited to see Dawes or the cemetery. I send messages to both Andy somewhere in the world and Sandi safely ensconced in Tahiti, if they want to go. Yes please. The website said that to get a ticket for the record store appearance all you had to do was pre-buy the CD. What?? $16.95 to see the greatest band to come along in about five decades up close and personal for the price of a CD? There has to be a catch. I called the record store and unbelievably no catch. Well I took four CDs. The tickets for the Masonic Lodge were a bit trickier. These boys hate scalpers and they mean it. The tickets could only be purchased through their website and there was a two ticket limit. Well, I thought, no problem I just need a few more credit cards and so I texted Andy and Sandi (I am such a good poet the way I can rhyme huh) and asked that they send me their credit cards so I could go in after my two and buy some more. I am sure no scalper ever thought of this clever idea. Andy was kind of annoyed; something about they were stranded in Vermont and missed their plane to Canada. Not sure I see how that is more important than Dawes tickets but hey to each his own. Sandi, that rock star in her own right, whips out the Black Amex and sends me the info from Tahiti. Ok the thought to just disappear without a trace and live in the lap of luxury until caught did cross my mind for a second. I envisioned being vaporized just like those people who used to go missing in the TV show “Without a Trace”.
The day comes. I am armed at my computer with my Amex and Sandi’s and here we go. Well I got two tickets right off the bat and then they were gone. Damn! Well Andy wasn’t able to go on Friday night anyway. He wanted to take his son Chase on Thursday to the record store but it was a school night and he lives a bit far away and Lisa, his mother, wasn’t crazy about the idea as any good mother wouldn’t. Not like me who would whip my kids out of school if they even showed a hint of interest in seeing a band I like. So I did what I do best; meddle in the most persistent way possible. Please, please, please I beg of you on all that’s holy let Chase go to the show, I message Lisa. But don’t tell Andy I am meddling. Defeats the whole purpose- especially now that I wrote this. People usually have two reactions to my persistence, they want to kill me or they say yes to get rid of me. I am lucky most people prefer not to go to jail. And so we have our Dawes record store posse in place, with Lorna, Andy’s girlfriend rounding out the foursome.
My goodness, seeing this band from like ten feet away in a tiny record store, then going up to them after and getting the CDs and a poster signed was well beyond my greatest expectations for an inaugural show! I said to Tyler Goldsmith, don’t believe any of these people I’m your biggest fan!! They played Things Happen which was just great along with much of the new album which I must say grew on me a lot after hearing most of it live. It was not a full band instrument show but more scaled down and so intimately perfect because of that. Whatever happened to Tahiti Sandi you ask? Well Sandi got the Friday night Masonic Lodge full concert spot complete with a dinner at this great little Italian restaurant we found nearby.
What a spectacular venue the Masonic Lodge is and not because of all the groovy gravestones nearby either. It is really beautiful. There were perhaps 150 people total there. Now we had the full band perspective as well. Sandi, that guy magnet that she is, attracted this like 20 something who couldn’t seem to stop draping himself over her. So funny! We also met a nice normal man, who we actually dubbed ‘ Normal Guy”, just a huge fan there on his own to see the show. The musical rapture was evidenced on Sandi’s countenance throughout most of the performance. The band was just great. Played the new album of course with a few old favorites that if I carried around a notepad and a pen I could probably tell you what they were. We took the requisite picture – OK requisite for us- under the Hollywood Cemetery sign and lo and behold who was there but young drape boy and his friend. Apparently they were going to UBER to Anaheim. I was about to offer them a lift when Sandi grabbed me firmly by the arm and scolded me for trying to give rides to perfect strangers. Well there goes that UBER money I could have had.
As concerts go, this was week was surely the gold standard. The most off the hook, great shows I have seen this year and that is saying something with all the others I was fortunate enough to see. The best part is Dawes is coming to LA again next year at the Ace Hotel and guess who got tickets already? Pre-sale was at 10am and I was locked out. I pouted because I thought my ticket fairy was gone for good. That evening on a whim I went to the website and tried for tickets again and it appears my ticket fairy must have been in the bathroom or sleeping that morning be cause I got them that night. Well another musical chapter comes to an end. Things happen, folks, that’s all they ever do!!