Big Guy Car Guy / OWTK Not Kids Music / Travel

How Far We’ve Come: Nearly a Decade with Dawes


The only point of clocks and maps
The only point of looking back
Is to see how far we’ve come

It was a Thursday night. Not too chilly, not too warm.

It was, simply put, a perfect mid-November night in Philly.

Parking was still easy to find in the neighborhood then, and I slid into a spot, walked a block, opened the door and went up the stairs early for the openers. I always do, because you never know when you’re going to find your next favorite band. And how.

Less than three months later I was walking into and climbing up the staircase of the same club. It was a Wednesday, colder by a mile so parking was even easier.

I was there early again for the openers but the weeknight was all about the headliner.

This was my 2nd Dawes show, back in the room where it happened in the fall, back where I found my new favorite band.

May they always stay together.

Let’s Party

In the eight years since seeing Dawes open for Langhorne Slim at Johnny Brenda’s in the Fishtown neighborhood of North Philadelphia, I have experienced Dawes live in concert a dozen times, in many different cities and venues; from the side stage at the Newport Folk Festival to opening the show and then playing the role of backing band for Conor Oberst at the famed 9:30 Club in D.C. to a stirring performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to an emotional gig alongside Levon Helm inside his barn in Woodstock, NY.

I’ve been a fortunate Dawes fan.

Last month, I had the good fortunate to slide in behind the wheel of an glistening orange Soul Turbo that sat idling out in front of the London Hotel in West Hollywood, patiently waiting for three guys to be ready for something special.

Whit Honea sat beside me, Rick Farquet climbed in the back, and we took off for Las Vegas, eschewing the suggested route for the local way up through Pasadena. Over the next four hours, we three shared music, laughs, and a few tears. A reverence filled the space, a low end non-sound, a respect for each other and for the songs from our libraries we offered up, the opening of a window into our truest selves. It got heavy.

#KiaSoulRoadies OWTK Kia Soul Turbo Decade with Dawes

I think I have more to say about that drive but I’m going to fast forward right now.

It was a warm Friday evening, only five days having passed since a domestic terrorist took 58 music loving souls from the Earth and injured hundreds more just a few blocks away from where we stood inside The Joint at the Hard Rock.

There’s no perfect segue from that sentence to describing the fun, albeit tempered, we had heading into downtown L.A. for a morning at The Broad, hanging around West Hollywood, kicking it at the Troubadour, and chilling out up inside the Rainbow’s Liar of Hollywood Vampires, for a couple of days to start our #KiaSoulRoadies music-fueled adventure.

It was even more complicated for us to figure out how to outwardly express our joy for being brought together, for being privileged enough to smile, to hear live music, to sing out loud, to hug, experience luxurious accommodations and food and VIP service, while so many who had recently gathered for the same reasons were gone and so many more still hurting.

#KiaSoulRoadies OWTK Kia Soul Turbo Decade with Dawes

I saw Dawes for the 13th time, with my Kia Family, in Las Vegas.

#KiaSoulRoadies OWTK Kia Soul Turbo Decade with Dawes

Dawes opens up for Kings of Leon at The Joint in Las Vegas.

Strangely, Dawes’ swift, professional 40-minute opening set was the most unremarkable piece of the #KiaSoulRoadies puzzle. But I wasn’t sad.

I still sang along with every word. I still smiled, cycled through a full compliment of air instruments, and felt my heart swell with gratitude for having this wonderful band in my life over the past 8 years, for this chance to see them perform once again, for the special opportunity to share Dawes with friends old and new, and for being a small part of a worldwide community of passionate music fans who won’t ever back down.

Oh, King of Leon performed too 😉

*Kia so kindly covered all travel and related costs for their #KiaSoulRoadies program. All opinions expressed above are obviously honest and unbiased, I mean, this whole post is about my favorite band.

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