People who hear Dawes before learning anything about the band are generally surprised to learn they’re from Los Angeles. What, like L.A. never had cowboys?
The band’s m.o. is most certainly country, what with its easy stride and affinity for one-four-five “Hey brother, jump on that third when we hit the chorus” template. But there’s definitely some serious suburbanism here—not in a “I’m going to revolt against my parents’ decision to furnish our house out of a SkyMall catalog by wearing army boots and starting a screamo band called ‘Fuckstick’” kind of a way; but more in a “I’m a restless, romantic kid who’s colored my Wonderbread life literary with the help of an old record collection and a wholesome sense of irony” sort of way. See Exhibit A: the song “Love Is All I Am,” with accompanying Wonder Years-style music video. See also Exhibit B: Dawes covering the song from the Wonder Years.
The verdict? Dawes is a cocky young alt-country outfit with an autobiographical bent and plenty left to prove. They put on a great show a few months ago opening for Langhorne Slim at the Rock and Roll Hotel, highlighted by the soulful anthem “When My Times Comes.” Tonight they’ve got the headlining slot at the IOTA Club and Café in Arlington, with Jason Boesel and Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons supporting. Word from the venue is they’re expecting a sellout, but IOTA doesn’t reserve tickets and the door is first come, first serve.
DAWES w/ JASON BOESEL and CORY CHISEL & THE WANDERING SONS, IOTA CLUB AND CAFÉ (21+), ARLINGTON (near Clarendon Metro), 8:30 P.M. $12.