The venue is packed as Los Angeles-based band Dawes takes the stage. Although they could have filled an even larger venue, the intimate atmosphere at Infinity Hall is welcomed by guitarist and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith. "I'm pretty sure venues like this are exactly what our music is meant to be played in. No bigger, no smaller. This is exactly perfect," he told the audience after opening with "That Western Skyline" and "The Way You Laugh." With his brother Griffin Goldsmith on drums and vocals, Tay Strathairn on keyboards and vocals, and Wiley Gelber on bass, the foursome's carefully crafted rhythms and tight harmonies have been compared to the Laurel Canyon sound of Crosby, Still and Nash and Neil Young. Taylor commented on Dawes' chemistry both musically and personally. "We're all extremely close," says Taylor. "I don't think this would work if we weren't. A big part of our careers and our time spent playing music is on the road." The band puts an emphasis on its live sound, even turning to traditional methods when recording albums. Strathairn points out that the band records on two-inch tape, laying down an entire track at once rather than recording each part separately. "The performance becomes paramount. We're all in a room, and they say go, and you have to do a whole take of a whole song. We're a live band essentially, and I think that captures us a bit," he says. The group tours extensively and considers its live performances to be its greatest asset. "Music being what it is today, where the value of the record isn't what it was and people could take it for free if they want, the only way to carve out a career for yourself is playing on stage and playing shows and having people come out to the shows. It's always been the best way to spread the word about the band," says Taylor. True to his word, Taylor shows his appreciation for the audience by turning his microphone stand toward the singing crowd as they belt out the chorus line during an inspirational
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