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Blitzen Trapper and Dawes w/ The Belle Brigade @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Nov. 7, 2011
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For the Turner Hall Ballroom's co-headlining bill between Blitzen Trapper and Dawes on Saturday, the restless visions of several rising and ever-evolving bands were on display. It was an eventful night of music that even included a marriage proposal.

For the California band Dawes, who have come a long way since opening for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in 2010, the past year couldn't have been scripted much better. After releasing their debut, North Hills, the band quickly found a growing fan base for their mix of country, roots rock and '60s/'70s-inspired rock with nods to Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm and Jackson Browne; the latter found his way on their most recent album, Nothing Is Wrong.

With a very talented roster of musicians including singer Taylor Goldsmith, it's no wonder why. With honest and everyman anthems like "When My Time Comes" and "Time Spent in Los Angeles," Dawes provided a thoroughly entertaining set Saturday. During "When My Time Comes" Goldsmith prompted the crowd to sing the chorus, which it did commandingly.

One of the many memorable moments came midway in the set, with a successful marriage proposal of two of the band's close friends, bringing on celebratory cheers from the crowd and leading the band to play "If You Let Me Be Your Anchor."

Blitzen Trapper might not have had as quick of a rise to fame as Dawes, but they sure have been prolific in recent years, testing the boundaries of what they can do. The band has been called many things—experimental, folk, country rock, hard rock and '70s-rock, to name a few—but really they're a band that molds into whatever they want to be at the time.

The band featured many songs off their album American Goldwing, a record with a country and vintage rock-leaning sound, including rousing versions of "Fletcher," "Your Crying Eyes" and the raging stomper "Street Fighting Sun." The set largely drew from their critically acclaimed albums Furr and Destroyer of the Void, with just a touch of Wild Mountain Nation. Wherever they were going musically, the band provided something to make new and old fans feel more than welcome.

The band's encore featured more pleasant surprises. Singer Eric Earley first came out solo to perform "The Man Who Would Speak True" with guitar and harmonica, before the band played "Country Caravan" off Wild Mountain Nation. They ended the night with Earley doing his best Robert Plant impression, as the band stormed through Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times."

The brother/sister-led openers Belle Brigade won over a large crowd earlier in the night with their pop/country sound and some heavy-hitting songs of their own.

Photo by CJ Foeckler


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