Dean Lewis at the Howler

Following the success of his debut EP Same Kind of Different, Sydneysider Dean Lewis played his first headline tour, which included his first ever Melbourne show, a sold out gig at Brunswick’s gem the Howler.

Opening the night was one-man band Mikey Bee, playing under his stage name ‘Mt Warning’. Bee graced the stage with a selection of folk melodies and raspy vocals, playing a selection of songs that he admitted had never been played live before. His heartwarming, down to earth nature however was not limited to the stage. Running into him in the mosh between songs I stopped to thank him for his beautiful performance and share the sorrow of my friend who was unable to get tickets to the concert, purely to see him. To this he counted that he had wished we would’ve contacted him earlier, and he would’ve been able to get my friends name on the door to get him in. It is a small gesture like this, paired with his undeniable acoustic talent, wistful melodies and sensitive lyrics, that make me hope and believe that he will have a long prosperous career ahead.

Sydney based duo PLGRMS was next to take the stage, treating the eager crowd to a selection of groovy indie pop tracks with a heavy-synth influence. Excited to play their newest single Crawling Back; having only been released days prior, the crowd was instantly hooked. Vocalist Jacob Pearson’s smooth vocals and Jonathan Bowden’s talented hand for production perfectly complement each other giving the audience tracks akin to sounds of Alt-J or Glass Animals.

One piano, one guitar, two bedside lamps and a chalk outline of the Same Kind of Different EP cover sketched on the back drop is all that resided on the stage as the small room of expectant fans waited for Lewis to enter the stage. The homely feel of the stage perfectly paired with his warm vocals and raw acoustic sound as Lewis jumped straight into his first song of the night, Lose Your Mind.

Performing a carefully selected combination of songs off his already released EP and a handful of brand new tracks; which may be featuring on his upcoming album, the audience was surely in for an hour of pure musical delight. For a first time tour with only a small selection of released songs, the crowd was certainly getting behind the tracks, singing along to his more well known items and simply standing back and enjoying the ones they were hearing for the first time. Lewis delighted the crowd with his naturally remarkable voice carefully paired with what can only be described as slightly ‘adorkable’ banter. Opening up about the origins of some of his songs, he declared that all he is trying to do is use his experiences to create relatable music for people to enjoy, with some of these songs having their humble beginnings in the back of an Uber after a night out.

Instead of following the traditional convention of an encore to finish the show Lewis confessed to the crowd that being one of his first headline shows instead of the going off stage and being cheered back on, which he didn’t see himself worthy of he’d rather just roll with the momentum so he could then come out and spend some time with the crowd. Finishing his set with the song that has helped catapult him from an artist who was practically unknown to playing to sold out crowds, Lewis revealed that his double platinum single Waves “is about the excitement of youth and trying to get it back”. With this sentiment in tow the crowd proudly sung the song home, finishing the last few words as Lewis played the last cord.

However, the highlight of the night for me, after witnessing such a magical performance, was being able to meet Dean Lewis at the end of the show. The humble artist took the time to visit the merch desk to take photos with fans and sign merchandise, a gesture I took advantage of, getting a photo with the artist and a signed record. Like his songs and performances reflect Lewis is a delightful and modest man and it was a pleasure to get to meet him. I for one am certainly excited to see him again when he returns to Melbourne later this year.

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