Dean Lewis @ The Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW Australia 27/07/2017 written by Brendan Lewis.
As the lights fade and the charismatic Dean Lewis emerges to Adore-ing fans, it becomes clear
that this isn’t the full-production set I had hoped for, instead a stripped back acoustic show. “Will I
get bored and my mind wander to what I might grab to eat on the way home? Or will I stay
perfectly fixated on every soaring note?”, I wonder to myself as I am very picky when it comes to
Dean’s first offering, a piano rendition of normally upbeat track ’Lose My Mind’ off his debut EP,
worked rather well as an acoustic piano rendition as it made his stand out vocals do just that.
These hauntingly beautiful vocal melodies, atop of the piano, resonated throughout the small pub
venue perfectly while everyone in the audience shyly sung along and were in total fixation. A very
appropriate opening song to give fans a fresh taste of a loved hit.
Dean then embraced his audience confidently and welcomingly, before moving across the stage
to his acoustic guitar for the next two songs, both newly written songs titled ‘Don’t Hold Me’ and
‘Half Away’ (at least that’s what my blurry sights see the titles on the set list as) demonstrating
Dean’s creativity as a songwriter.
Three songs down, and so far only guitar, piano and admittedly amazing vocals which has
sufficed so far, but are things going to pick up before my mind wander’s? Indeed they will, Dean
introduces his friend, Ben to the audience to join him for his heart-warming EP featured track, ‘Let
Go’. The addition of Ben gave this song the filling that the set needed by this stage with the
presence of guitar, piano, Dean’s lead vocals and Ben’s backing vocals, along with the crowds
surprisingly accurate vocals… what?, no slurring drunks here tonight? This song definitely hit the
right note with the audience!
Dean swiftly moves back to the piano and explains that the next song he’s never played live
before, so we’re the first for its debut. Ah, you never forget your first. The song titled ‘7 Minutes’
featured a very noticeably funky 2nd verse, which definitely caught my, and judging by the crowds
reaction, their attention too. I really look forward to hearing the full production song when it’s
Again, without delay, Dean happily speaks to the audience on a very intimate level, speaking ‘to’
the crowd rather than ‘at’ the crowd, which you often see at performances even at small pub
shows like this. This really made it feel like he was talking to each person individually, and as if he
knew everyone in the crowd, not just his brother and manager who he pointed out. The continuity
of the set did make it a challenge for me to scribble down notes, and as a result, they’re hardly
legible/interpretable to even myself.
Dean’s ability to acknowledge the crowd on an intimate level, perfectly gives the right energy to
his raw acoustic set that the music otherwise doesn’t deliver. Riding the wave of good vibes Dean
surfs straight onto his second big single ‘Need You Now’, with the entire crowd singing along to,
even more beautifully than before. With the help of Dean’s friend Ben (who’s been cutting in and
out of the set at strategic intervals) and Dean musically building up the bridge of the song, it
raised the crowds feel-good energy brilliantly for the middle of the set, which is often needed half
way through a show A.K.A the,“go to the toilet then grab a drink from the bar section”.
The next three songs that neared the shows completion, are three more un-released fresh Dr. Feel
Good’s which continue to display Dean’s creativity as a songwriter and his warm friendly
personality as he spoke between the songs. Luckily the addition of Ben popping in and out at
sections to give Dean’s music the additive it needed plus a quirky crash course sing-a-long lesson
for the crowd and a crowd-pleasing guitar solo in one of the songs (that resulted in a very loud
applause), was enough to keep my and everyone else’s attention as too many unfamiliar songs
played consecutively can be risky.
As if Dean knew what I was thinking… scarily enough, familiar EP featured, ‘Chemical’ made all
the many young girls in the crowd swoon and even I couldn’t help but sway to the song, although
my feet were quite sore by this stage.
Next, was ‘Be Alright’ which could’ve been one of Dean’s new tracks, or for all I know could’ve
been a cover of Ariana Grande’s hit, but I honestly don’t listen to that sh… stuff. “…McDonalds
nuggets maybe? hmmm…” Oh sorry, my mind wandered a little. Although this song did have
some really good piano playing techniques in it and was a great song in its own right, I feel that
without any other layers than piano and Dean’s vocals, it didn’t sustain the flow of the previous
songs and seemed a little too familiar to me from other songs previously played tonight.
Therefore, I thought it wasn’t an appropriate spot in the set for the song to be played at, being the
second last song.
Never fear, for the finale is here! Dean addresses the fact that he doesn’t have any more songs
other than this final one to play and an encore at his first big show would be a little awkward, so
this really is the last song, thanking the crowd once more before the truly deafening scream of the
audience erupts for Dean’s biggest and breakthrough hit, ‘Waves’. Dean chose to play this song
on the piano, alternative to the recorded full production song lead by guitar, which he emulated
the drum beat well on the piano, as it grows faster in the recorded song, to ace it as an acoustic
rendition! With the whole venue singing along to every lyric with Dean, echoing throughout the
venue in perfect harmony. This actually sent tingles down my spine and honestly to my surprise,
made me prefer this rendition to the original.
This show was about as good as an acoustic performance gets in my opinion, however I do hope
Dean incorporates other sounds, both acoustic and electric and I’m very curious as to how he
progresses with his sound over time. If not, this show was very enjoyable but would get repetitive
over time if progression isn’t made.