We'll Do It Live

Dawes / Blitzen Trapper

10.07.11 | Petaluma, CA

Comments Off on We’ll Do It Live: Dawes/Blitzen Trapper

Dawes @ Mystic Theatre by John Margaretten

In many ways, what serious concertgoers are chasing are bands that really put their backs into it, movement and sound that remind us in ways beyond words why rock possesses such an ardent following. It’s not something that can be analyzed too much, a fleeting renewal whose sacrament lingers on our lips, a haunting aftertaste that makes us dream ahead to the next time we’ll be pressed against a stage, speakers rattling our skulls as we reach for things that cannot really be held by human hands. In these moments we are unified with the music makers that form our temporary horizon. Part of the sweetness of these times is the conscious realization that what’s happening is ephemeral; an acute hyper-awareness not meant to last but yearned for daily just the same. To the less committed, such nights appear as mere concerts and nothing more, but when music is succor and a treasured spiller of secrets, then it is more.

It’s hard to gauge how many people saw a rock show and how many tipped into this denser, thornier, all-together more rewarding territory at the Mystic Theatre during the co-headlining tour kick-off for Blitzen Trapper and Dawes. What I can say is both bands offered a pathway into something more than a gig if one chose to follow them down. As simpatico a pairing as one could hope, their songs brought sunlight to feelings and thoughts we generally keep to ourselves. Sharing such subject matter en masse has a peculiar power, a ripple one feels in their limbs, folks belting out heart things, sharing a smile and a tear, raising their gaze from the ground and meeting the eyes of their fellow human beings caught in the act of being human.

Dawes and Blitzen Trapper truck in songs custom built to slip past our armor, to prick us in our sore spots and make us draw sharp breath. If this all comes across as a bit too Walt Whitman, I’m sorry, but coming at this night straight ahead, dwelling on the solos and setlists, seems inadequate. Just as these bands lean out and grab for the stars…or capital ‘T’ truth…or a girl’s hand, it behooves us to plant our feet and lean out right beside them. Most often, we come back empty handed but our reach grows a millimeter each time out, the tantalizing sense that we will get a hold of it one day nurtured by these stories embedded in fabulous melodies, humming guitars and upward arched voices. It is a beautiful ache that’s both a reminder of and a balm for those things that bring us to our knees. (Dennis Cook)

Blitzen Trapper and Dawes continue their joint tour through November 17th. Check out dates for this pair here.

Once again, John Margaretten nails a great deal of the magic unfurled at this performance, his keen eye catching these players in full extension, great bursts of creative outpour distilled into still images.