Dawes, Deer Tick, Middle Brother @ Club Dada
This St. Patrick’s Day not only brought about green beer and a false sense of Irish patriotism, but a triple bill of Middle Brother, Dawes, and Deer Tick at Club Dada. The moon was high and bright, the weather was perfect, and the “backyard party” feel of the venue provided a perfect setting for an intimate evening with three very talented bands. As someone who had never been to their live show, and didn’t really know what to expect, I can truthfully say I was not disappointed. Read on to hear about all three bands.
The bill started with Deer Tick. I knew from the Weezer cover during their sound check that it was going to be a fun show. Their presence on stage was energetic and lively. There was jumping, swaying, head-banging and beer-gurgling. The band definitely exuded rock n roll, even though their actual sound was more subdued. The first half of their set was a mix of alt-country arrangements with interjections of strong organ sounds and saxophone solos that flirted with blues.
The vocals from John McCauley were course and nasally with nods to Bob Dylan. However, the vocals also contributed an element of grunge that was definitely prevalent once they invited Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit on stage for the second half of the set. The new dynamic on stage served as a refreshing boost of energy as their show came to a close. Matt took the lead as they introduced a new song and covered songs from Nirvana and Bruce Springsteen. It was a great sample of what to expect of their show at SXSW called “Deervana,” a complete set dedicated to covering Nirvana.
Up next was Dawes. They were endearing and adorable. They had a folk simplicity that felt raw and introspective, and showcased their talent. The lead singer Taylor Goldsmith serenaded the audience with a passion and emotion that could genuinely be felt. The beginning of their show consisted of songs off of their debut album North Hills, and the introduction of new ones such as “Time Spent in L.A.” and “Fire Away.”
Mid-set the band invited Johnny Corndawg on stage to perform five of his own songs. It was a lively intermission of country songs with oddly comical lyrics. This was a fun segue way into the high-energy finale of “When My Time Comes.” Several people, including Matt Vasquez and John McCauley, came up on stage to do a massive sing-along that at one point had the audience taking over the lyrics. It was great. While it might have seemed like the night had reached its peak Middle Brother was still up next and the night was nowhere near over.
After a short break, Middle Brother graced the stage. The set started with a song that really highlighted how harmonious and meaningful this collaboration has been. You could sense how well they all get a long and it came across as very playful. But the highlights of their set were when each Taylor, John, and Matt were spotlighted individually on their respective songs. Taylor gave a moving performance on “Blood and Guts,” (one of Middle Brother’s best songs) John did an exceptional job on “Daydreaming,” and Matt mastered the song “Theater.” The set overall was a great balance of individual talent married with the dynamic creativity of group collaboration.
The last song of the evening “Middle Brother” was the perfect way to end the night. Every single performer was on stage, everyone was singing, everyone was playing instruments (most of them doubling) and it was for lack of a better word: epic. It was soulful and heartfelt and a great display of how successful they have become with both their individual projects and the collaborative effort of Middle Brother.
Deer Tick, Dawes, and Middle Brother all left Dallas to finish up their tour in Austin at SXSW. Hopefully in their down time they will be continuing to create new material for our future enjoyment.