REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

The Dunwells Show Emotion With A Strong Set @ The 229

Last week I headed to 229 Venue to check out Leeds-based indie rock group the Dunwells.  Having listened to some of their songs I did have a few mixed feelings about this band but put my doubts to one side in the hope that they could be an excellent live band.

 As I entered the venue, which was like a high-end converted boiler room, a quick glance around revealed that using the word ‘crowd’ was a bit of an over-statement. And I was surprised to find that my friend and I were clearly the youngest there.

With the support band, City of Lights (also from Leeds) taking to the stage to warm up the sparse crowd, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them.  The four-piece band tried their best and their energetic performance slowly drew more of the audience forward. They only played a handful of songs but what they lacked on quantity, they made up for on sound. Ending they very short but sweet performance with “Live and Learn”, I found myself singing along to the catchy tune, with the sound of the electric guitar adding to magic.

After a quick switch-over, the Dunwells took to the stage. With a few class words from pint-sized frontman Joseph Dunwell, they began their set with “I could be a king”, showcasing their folksy sound. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the guitarist effortlessly produced electric chords that shouldn’t mix with a country-sounding song but somehow did, and the lead singer’s soulful voice helped create a sound which is completely their own. Soon after came one of my favourites, “Follow the road”, which revealed just how talented these guys are.

I couldn’t see how they were placed in the genre ‘indie rock’ though – I would say it is more like ‘folksy rock’. I don’t like to compare bands as I believe each has a unique sound, but I would say they are an English-sounding Kings of Leon with a twang of Biffy Clyro.

Not every song was received as well as others with some blending into the other. But the acoustic track “Get Light My City” was comfortably one of the crowd’s favourites and “Oh So Beautiful” and “Show Me Emotion” were anything but unforgettable with a powerful deceleration of love.

The majority of their success is in America, and listening to their album I can see why it may have been better received across the pond with their folksy sound. However, their recorded album just does not do this band justice. Having a passion for live music, I’m slightly biased, but I think seeing a band perform live is a true test of how good they actually are. With these guys I would say, see them live before listening to their recorded album as I liked them so much better. As they belted out their polished harmonies, I soon found myself singing along.

The magic of seeing this four-piece band comes from the rawness they exude; the surprise was clear on their faces as the crowd sang along and their modesty was just another reason that made me warm to them even more. That’s one of the reasons why I love seeing new bands perform – they don’t have the arrogance that can come across from seasoned artists. With this band, you could clearly tell they where enjoying the set just as much as the audience. What a hidden gem these guys are.

Written by Robyn Chamberlain-Webber

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