See more of the Dawes and The Canyon in the slideshow.
See more of the Dawes and The Canyon in the slideshow.
Kevin Todora

Last Night: Dawes, Telegraph Canyon at Casa Mañana

Dawes, Telegraph Canyon
Casa Mañana, Fort Worth
July 14, 2010

Better Than: Missing Dawes entirely--several times--at SXSW.

See more of the Dawes and The Canyon in the slideshow.
See more of the Dawes and The Canyon in the slideshow.
Kevin Todora

There was a lot of pride under the Casa Mañana bubble last night--mostly for Telegraph Canyon. The rest beamed off Taylor Goldsmith's guitar strap.

Let's say you're from out of town. Say, Minneapolis or Toronto--somewhere North where the state's official animal is caribou. Here's what you saw at the Mañana: Michael Newquist, of the FW Weekly, introduced Telegraph and expressed happiness that the Casa Mañana could take on TC and Dawes.

"This show could have gone to Dallas," he said to audience cheers.

It was genuine, but a little over-the-top.

Telegraph Canyon
Telegraph Canyon
Kevin Todora

So, blue-lit and homey, with a rippled roof like a Epcot center's brother, the Mañana was filled with Texans fervently cheering a scrawny bearded man and his six companions. Makes sense: Telegraph Canyon, as always, was exacto-knife sharp in their performance. Chris Johnson's voice and banjo made cuts in the ceiling during "Shake Your Fist." They even earned a near-complete standing ovation before the encore provided plenty of energy for Chris and the rest of Canyon to go unplugged for their last song, "Into the Woods", which was followed by another, this time complete, standing O.

Then there was the not-Fort Worthians, and their own hometown pride. In Dawes' case, it was for Los Angeles. So, Dawes broke through the gate, minus any bantery intros, with "When You Call My Name," a rolling romp that immediately laid all of Dawes' good stuff on the table: perfect harmonies by Taylor Goldsmith, who looked a little like Hipster Springsteen in brown slacks; wicked bass by Wylie Gelber; a soulful love of Southern California.

It bled through to the audience: Goldsmith had enough confidence and energy to sell the absent love of home and woman in tracks like "That Western Skyline," which was easily the night's best, as well as with "Let Me Be Your Anchor" and the disarmingly good "Bedside Manner."

"Fire Away," a new live cut about consoling a wistful (suicidal?) friend by telling him to solider on, wasn't as enjoyable and soul-fufilling as their North Hills work, but another newer "How Far We've Come" had vintage goodness.

Turns out, the audience wasn't as Fort Worth-biased as originally perceived.

An almost-all standing ovation happened before "Peace in the Valley" had a jam-worthy, seven-minute end. The encore came, and Dawes played the gorgeous "Give Me Time," followed by a heartwarming version of the gospel-blues "I've Got a Feeling (Everything's Gonna Be Alright)."

When it finished, the crowd was in full standing ovation mode, again, and for a second I forgot where the hell I was.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: "That Western Skyline" is one of the most listened things on my iTunes. Try sorting your library like that; it shows a lot about who you are (or why your music taste truly sucks.)

Random quote: When Telegraph took the stage, a fan yelled "Chris, I wanna have your baby!" To which he replied, "Are you fertile?"

By The Way: The Casa Mañana Theater should stick around as a sit-down concert venue, if only for the fact that you can bring your Shiner can into the theater.


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