Last Friday brought a wonderful night of good ole fashioned Americana folk music as Off Broadway hosted the twin bill of Los Angeles quartet Dawes and South Carolina duo Shovels & Rope. The show was actually sold-out for months now, around a week after it went on sale. I procrastinated in getting my ticket but was very, very fortunate that my friend had an extra ticket that I used to get in. And I’m glad I got in, cause this show surpassed all my expectations and ended up as being one of my favorites this year!
I actually wasn’t a huge fan of Dawes coming into the show (to be honest, I really came for Shovels & Rope), but they blew me away with their live set that night. I really sensed the passion that the band has for Americana music as well as the appreciation they had for the live crowd. With a nearly twenty-song set spanning over two hours, I felt every bit of the joy and the love that the band exuded and that the crowd gave back. It was a most organic feeling that can’t be recreated elsewhere and where you can only feel in a small crowded room of hundreds of people singing along with the band. When Taylor Goldsmith told the crowd that nothing feels better than being in this room with all of us, you know he really meant it.
Shovels & Rope started the night off right with a raucous set of traditional roots music. I came into the show in anticipation of great things for the duo as I heard so many wonderful things about their live show. And the band fully lived up to those expectations and then some. The husband and wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst gave a romping, stomping performance – switching instruments and trading vocals left and right. And they immediately made themselves known to the people who were unfamiliar with them. You can totally feel the chemistry and energy that Michael and Cary Ann had for each other as they sang head to head and cheek to cheek. I only wished that their set and the whole night went on forever.
Check out photos from the show below as well as videos I took of Shovels & Rope singing the titular track of their record, O’ Be Joyful, as well as the duo joining Dawes‘ encore as they cover the Traveling Wilbury’s End of the Line.