like tidal-waves of brilliance!
Dean Lewis w/ Winterbourne & Elliot @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW Australia 07/05/2019 written by Brendan Lewis
As I stand here at the front barrier surrounded by a buzz of excitement as we all await the performance to begin on this cold May night, I feel waves of fatigue grasp a hold of me and I wonder if I will be able to stay awake and alert, or will I fall into slumber within 7 minutes. I then think about the talent about to grace us all, and I feel I’ll be alright as I have a feeling Dean Lewis and the other talents will keep me poised and sharp, as I have bore witness to Dean’s talent previously…. and I hear it’s only developed more refined and remarkable since!
Part one; Elliot.
A sudden burst of voices singing Happy Birthday to Elliot chimes throughout the theatre as, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Elliot? glides delicately to the centre of the stage.
A soft and serene voice floats gently atop some light piano chords, before Elliot brings forth a crafty array of sounds, likely triggered on a MIDI keyboard to accompany her modest vocal melodies, dancing, spinning and unwinding.
This may be my delirium talking, but Eilliot reminds me of a sweet serene swan, young and fragile, withheld and modest. Her vocals are nothing short of indulgent and powerful in emotion and depth, soaring, twirling and weaving in and out of melodic movement with ease. However I feel like she’s holding back and not putting the force behind the melodies that crave it, perhaps shy and self-conscious despite the constant praise from the audience. Thankfully, the sound mix tonight elevates and highlights Elliot’s voice superbly, the “wind beneath her wings” as such, and doesn’t allow the colourful electronic sounds way her vocals down.
So yes, Elliot reminds me of a bird, one that has the potential to soar high and far if she only spreads her wings and believes in herself.
Part two; Winterbourne.
The atmosphere in the theatre instantly changes as Winterbourne takes flight into their set. If Elliot is a serene gentle swan, then Winterbourne is a flock of laughing, fun-loving full-of-life Kookaburras. As the band flap through their uplifting tracks that elevate the positivity and electric buzz in the theatre, sharing the spotlight between the lead singer and lead guitarist while the latter plays host to a guiding drift of backing vocals, I realise these two support acts, Elliot and Winterbourne are perhaps the most perfect accompaniment to a Dean Lewis concert. Both support bands shed light on Dean’s musical stylistics sliding from serene and gentle to uplifting anthems… well played Universal Records, well played!
Although the dual-layer vocals most prominent in the chorus’s of Winterbourne’s songs are rather delicious and crucial, they do struggle to stay astride against the powerful gust of bass, but luckily this gust of bass doesn’t engulf the vocals completely, and with the grandeur opening and party-vibed closing tracks with the nicely flowing connecting tracks keep these Kookaburras soaring high and unwavering with their musical excellence that rather impresses me! The pleased impression these lads have given me is thanks to three key factors. Firstly, my intrigue as I wonder if there’s a saxophone being played, only to deduce that it’s actually a rather attention-drawing guitar effect, giving a smooth raspiness to the lead guitar like that of a saxophone. Secondly, the way the attention and metaphorical spotlight is shared between the lead vocalist and lead guitarist/backing vocalist to add to the overall buzz radiating from their performance. And finally, the way each song is fresh, easy to dance to (but I’ll save everyone around me’s sanity and keep my dignity), and untiring to the even-still growing audience.
Part three; Dean Lewis.
If we continue with my delirious analogies of the performers here tonight being birds... (read the rest of this paragraph with your best rendition of Sir David Attenborough’s voice). Here we find the majesty and versatility of the great Falcon. Observe how it gracefully soars into the thunderous cries of positivity from its followers, colliding with the love of its followers with that of its own in which it reciprocates, embracing, almost physically, whilst keenly taking charge.
Although Dean is likely the whole reason why you’re reading this and you’d probably expect me to blabber on more then I did for Elliot and Winterbourne’s sets, I really don’t think that’s necessary to be honest.
If like me, you’ve followed Dean’s career for a while, you’d likely be aware that the songs on his debut album ‘A Place We Knew’ in which he’s currently touring on, has been in the making for quite some time and that he’s been performing them also, for quite some time. As a result, what you hear on the album is exactly what you get at his live shows, precision, perfection, and thanks to the sound mixer, crisp clarity even with 2,000 adoring fans singing along!
“So why go to his shows if all you get is what you hear on the album?”. Oh, I’m so very glad you asked! For you see, it’s not just his presentation of the recorded sounds that have been fine tuned and perfected with practice, his performance in every way possible has too. What you don’t get from simply listening to the album is the blazing atmosphere he holds in the palm of his hand, conducting the flow of energy like a smile, starting sky-high, then gradually dips for contrast and emotional depth while still holding the overall positivity up with personal connectivity with the audience, then slowly building up to finish sky-high yet again. Plus, the way Dean dances and holds out his arms at strategic intervals has an authentic personal touch to it, as if dancing with and waving/pointing to everyone individually. And finally, on the energy’s ascent nearing the shows completion, Dean throws in a perfectly justified to the original, cover of ‘When You Were Young’ by The Killers. This rendition cleverly emphasises the nostalgia of Dean’s songs and storytelling in his performance, and the up-beat rock energy helps climax the performances energy-stride brilliantly!
If Dean can produce such a masterful performance with his intimate and vulnerable songs in 2-3 years or so… imagine what heights he’ll reach in the next 2-3 years...