Dawes open for Bob Dylan, celebrate folk musicWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith asked if the crowd was having fun during the band’s set opening for Bob Dylan. That’s the only reason they were there, he said.
The concert took place in Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center on April 21, part of a month-long tour with the legendary folk singer.
Goldsmith said Dylan fans have been “almost surprisingly welcoming” to them.
“We were doing this more just for being able to say that we did and the honor of getting to play with Bob Dylan,” Goldsmith said in a news conference before the show. “We didn’t really think that Bob Dylan fans, who have been Bob Dylan fans for so long, would be so welcoming to a young band.”
Goldsmith said the fans were the most rewarding aspect of the tour.
The Los Angeles-based folk band played tracks from their recent release “Stories Don’t End.”
Unfortunately, they still haven’t met Dylan.
“He still might not have heard a lick of our music,” Goldsmith said. “But obviously, regardless, he approved of it and he was involved on some level.
“I know this is a sought-after slot for any band,” Goldsmith said. “This the kind of thing that bands dream about when they are rehearsing in their garage … it’s almost even too much for us to wrap our heads around.”
Dawes recently opened for fellow folk band Mumford & Sons, who won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year this year. Goldsmith said they are enjoying how mainstream folk music has become.
“I think a win for any song-based artist is a win for the home team,” he said. “It’s definitely a weird climate that we’re trying to make music within. So to see a band like Mumford & Sons, where people are singing every single lyric, and people aren’t needing a light show or a crazy sound in order to get their heads turned, I feel like that’s really reassuring.”
The band cites Dylan as an influence. The members are fans of Dylan’s 35th album “Tempest,” which he released last fall.
“I was a fan of that album for a while,” Goldsmith said. “Actually, we were listening to it pretty extensively while we were recording our last album.”
Being on this tour solidified their love of “Tempest.”
Goldsmith said he admires the way Dylan’s setlist was created.
“When you see him go from a song that was recorded last year to ‘Blind Willie McTell,’ which is a song he didn’t even put on an album, it just reminds you constantly of what it looks like to witness such a far-reaching catalog of incredible work.”
Goldsmith said it is the ultimate goal for Dawes to have a discography comparable to Dylan’s.
Dylan and his band took the stage following Dawes. He opened the show with “Things Have Changed” and went on to play four tracks off his new record during the night. His setlist also included hits like “Visions of Johanna” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
All proceeds of the show will benefit the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. Red Cross Board Member Chris Kozak said he loves the idea of Dylan performing at colleges around the nation.
“It’s a really cool approach to take the music from someone at his age and stage of his career and try and drive that to [college kids],” Kozak said.
Kozak said he looks forward to an ongoing relationship between the Stroh Center and the Red Cross.