Taylor Goldsmith has always had an ear for the obscure.
The singing guitarist of the alt-rock band Dawes — who is set to play Pure Imagination Fest on May 21 — describes the band’s “questionable” era as joyful.
“I look at bands who are very much in the zeitgeist and very much in the ‘cool kids club’ that speaks to and for a generation and part of me thinks that’s so cool,” Goldsmith says.
“So much of what I’ve always responded to as a fan for myself has always been a little more eclectic.”
Because of this, Goldsmith takes a relaxed approach to Dawes, which also includes his brother, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber and keyboardist Lee Pardini.
“I don’t see a version of our story going where all of the sudden we’re an ‘it’ band,” Goldsmith says. “In a way, that’s exciting because when you don’t have to play that game you can do whatever you want and playing a festival like this feels indicative of that.”
He enjoys the creative freedom that a festival like Pure Imagination can provide.
“I love all of the environments that a festival has, and there’s never a festival environment in which we’re disappointed,” Goldsmith says. “That whole world is its own culture and the people who go to festivals seem to go to a lot of them.”
Goldsmith oftentimes maximizes that freedom by feeding off of the audience’s energy and playing longer iterations of Dawes’ signature tunes.
“It’s weird that this is not common anymore, but what’s happening on our stage is totally live and in the moment,” he says. “Sometimes songs can be 4 minutes and sometimes that same song can be 9 minutes and we don’t know why or how it’s going to end up that way.”
Notably, Dawes will jam “Feed the Fire” from 2018’s album “Password.”
“We like to spread out where we’ll play a song like ‘Feed the Fire’ and instead of the 5-minute version you’ll hear on the record, it may be more like a 10- or 12-minute version. Festivals tend to be the space where things like that are appreciated and people want to stay in a song and a mood,” Goldsmith said.
Dawes fans can expect to hear their favorite songs, however, elongated or not.
“Being very aware that a lot of people may not know who we are and if they do, it’s very tangentially or peripherally where they’ll only know ‘Things Happen,’” Goldsmith says. “So, we do make it a point to get to those more obvious songs of ours where there’s a chance for the audience to look up and realize that they know this band.”
Pure Imagination Festival
WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday, May 21
WHERE: Watson Lake Park, 3101 Watson Lake Park Road, Prescott
COST: Tickets start at $71.50