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South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake’s Commonwealth Room opens its doors for Dawes, impressing music fans

Dawes’ front man Taylor Goldsmith introduces his friend and idol Brandon Flowers from famed rock band The Killers, onto the stage for a surprise performance. (Jesse M. Gonzalez/City Journals)

Hundreds upon hundreds of excited fans arrived at the Commonwealth Room on April 20 to see a Los Angeles-based band with a massive and growing following: Dawes, consisting of bandmates Taylor Goldsmith, Griffin Goldsmith, Wylie Gelber and Lee Pardini. It was an eventful evening in South Salt Lake as the band played and guests enjoyed themselves to music and drinks before the stage. 

“I like their music,” said Jimmy Hartman who had been listening to Dawes for the last two years, discovering the band on KRCL radio. “I just like style of music. I’ve never seen them in concert so I’m pretty excited to be here!” A frequent concert goer and a South Salt Lake local, Hartman has seen many bands pass through the valley, especially coming through the Commonwealth Room.

“I think I went to 44 concerts last year. I had season tickets to USANA, so I go to a lot of concerts,” said Hartman, who lives close enough to the venue that he finds an easy commute in simply riding his bike. He smokes a cigarette on the spacious back patio, waiting for one of his favorite bands to commandeer the stage. “We’ll see how they do; I’ve heard they’re really good in concert. I’ve heard they put on a really good show. I’m really excited to see them and listen to them.”

Musical sounds could be heard from the back of the stage, instruments tuning and the checking of sound systems. The Commonwealth Room has been a breeding ground for good music and passionate fans as many locals and newcomers alike embrace the jingle-jangle, euphonious vibrations of sound to come together and enjoy what mostly everyone has a common interest in. A communal interest that bands understand and return to.

“I think a lot of bands come back to Salt Lake City because they sell out shows,” said Hartman. “Musicians like Isbell, Brandy Carlile—bands like that; they come back here even though there’s really nothing to do in the city. They come back because they sell out shows and that’s a huge selling point for bands, and that’s the difference between here and the State Room is this place holds twice as many people as the State Room does, and a lot of the times when they sell out the State they move it here so they can open the capacity up.”  

“I really like this venue—I like the sound system in here. I think the sound system is really good. I think they have really good acoustics in this building,” said Hartman, still waiting for the band to come up to the stage. “They do what they want, and that’s what I like about bands like Dawes. They’re here because they love the music and they’re here to entertain.” 

Waiting patiently, enjoying a beer, before Dawes steps onto the platform to compose their oeuvre is Josh Scheuerman, a local photographer and mural artist. “I’ve seen Dawes before, but also with Middle Brother and other bands. He’s [Taylor Goldsmith] a great singer- songwriter. I saw Lucero here [Commonwealth Room] last week, and Lucero is kind of in the same alternative country but like in the same vein as Wilco and Uncle Tupelo or bands I grew up on. They’re still like carrying on the tradition in their own right but also in their own genre, so I’m a fan,” Scheuerman said.  

“I’m also a liaison for the mural fest, so I’m a mural artist full-time who takes pictures on the side,” said Scheuerman, who has been a frequent listener of Dawes for roughly eight years.  “A friend suggested them off their first album, and when they did a collab with the other bands, bands that I was familiar with, and it was then I became more of a fan. They’ve grown into their own field. They’re not beholden to anyone.” 

“Utah has the youngest demographic in the entire country because there’s so many families with young kids here. So, we have the most youth here in the country so that is why shows sell out here because there are so many people here who are hungry for something but also willing to go out and see concerts,” Scheuerman said.

There were no opening or closing bands—it was solely Dawes, who was greeted with thunderous applause. One surprise was when Utah local Brandon Flowers showed up on the stage to play beside Dawes, which had the crowd enraptured. 

Another attendee, South Salt Lake local Megan Meservy, who is part of a band herself—a collective Americana band called Chapter 38—came by to see a band she admires. “So, we’re here to see Dawes because I told my band, ‘We got to sing their song!’ It’s called ‘When My Time Comes’ and the reason I know this song is because my ex-boyfriend—bless his heart—and his best friend…who later died…he was a heroin addict and he died in the vestibule of this bar we used to go to and every night they would go over and sing this song, ‘When My Time Comes’ and it’s their best song. Dawes is amazing,” Meservy said. 

Meservy shows a video of her late friend singing “When My Time Comes” at an open mic performance from years back. “And then we did that song as a band,” Meservy said. “I love that they’re about heart. Tonight, I have seen all of my favorite local artists here at the Dawes show, coming here to see Dawes. They have good, solid lyrics—just good. They’re amazing.” λ