On Friday night Auckland was treated to a nice night out at the Town Hall thanks to a musical guest from across the ditch, Dean Lewis. The crowd was packing in pretty quickly but it was clear this young crowd just wanted to be ready and be as close as possible.
Kicking the night off was local band Balu Brigada. Balu Brigada is a 4-piece but tonight only the 3 brothers took the stage (Henry, Pierre and Charles Beasley). I had never heard their music before tonight and I have to say they have an interesting sound. I don’t really know if you could lock down their sound as at first I thought indie & pop but then there were the rock and subtle hip-hop elements as well. Though I suppose if you didn’t pick it apart as many people would just say pop. The lighting was just one flat yellow tone which wasn’t horrible but I felt as though it would have been fun to see it change a bit. Regardless of that, the sound was good and the guys had quite a bit of energy in their performance with Pierre jumping around, Charles smashing the drums and singing along and Henry jumping around and playing with different levels. I think these guys are worth keeping an eye on.
Now people began to get a bit antsy, pushing closer to the front and the crowd really packing in more. Though they weren’t the only ones who were excited. Dean Lewis had been posting to his Instagram prior to the show about how crazy it is that he’s about to play a show at the Town Hall which was nearly sold-out. He was excited and so were we. Dean’s 3-piece band took the stage as the crowd screamed in excitement and that only amplified as Dean took the stage. He didn’t waste any time as he kicked into Hold of me and seemed to just smash through the setlist (which you can see below).
There were a few songs where that he spoke on, like Half a Man. He took a set at his keyboard and seemed to get excited about having a sweat towel “this is the 1st time I’ve had a sweat towel, it’s epic. Thank you”. But then touching on the song, the crowd learned that this song “gave him a record deal” even though at first they wanted him to “give it to someone else” as if you didn’t know, Dean has written songs for other people before performing his own material. But he didn’t want to part with it. And this live rendition was a bit different as he brought down his band member Gus to play the cello which is the first time they have done this. A special treat for this NZ crowd. It would also have to be one of my favourite songs of his, especially live. It is so raw. I also loved the guy in the crowd who screamed the words prior to Dean singing them. A funny moment but also awesome to see the guys in the crowd there for his music too. As the crowd was mainly female but everyone should be able to enjoy whatever music they want.
Even Dean said it’s nice to be playing his album in this way and all stripped down. “You guys having fun? Honestly, this is probably one of the best crowds I’ve ever played to. I don’t even say that often. You guys are epic”. But then came the moment was the song everyone had been waiting for, “So I wrote this song about seeing a message on my ex-girlfriends phone. The best thing that ever happened. It’s called Be Alright”. The crowd sang the song back to him tenfold. It was insane. You could just hear him and you could see Dean appreciated it so much as he let them sing a part for themselves “But nothing heals the past like time, and they can’t steal the love, you’re born to find”. The Town Hall was such a beautiful venue for his music. The 3 tier seating and ornate detailing was a beautiful backdrop and surrounding. The lighting was beautifully matched to the venue and music. Then he played a cover and though he has been playing a cover on tour, this was a new one. Dean played When You Were Young by The Killers. And he told the crowd they had just rehearsed it a couple of times and you could see he took the steps to ensure they did a decent job as the lyrics were at his feet. But I have to say it was something different and broke up the set pretty well. They also did a good job of it. “Thank you very much. We didn’t fuck it up. That’s good!”.
I also love how blunt and funny Dean was saying this “last one” was the “first song he wrote that didn’t suck and is the type of song you show your family & friends” – For The Last Time. Then as you can expect was the whole fake encore. Walk off the stage, the crowd cheers and you come back. I personally am not a fan as it is so common that everyone knows it’s going to happen. But it’s just part of shows these days I guess. Dean returned to the stage and played Straight Back Down and Waves “Thank you so much for having us Auckland. It’s been so fucking cool. Thank you so so much”. Dean Lewis has become more of a household name with his track Be Alright and his new album A Place We Knew. I have to say it really seems like Deana can only keep going up. He just seems like such a lovely and genuine person with an incredible voice. If you don’t know his music I suggest looking him up and go see him live. Amazing show!
BALU BRIGADA SETLIST:
Could U Not
DEAN LEWIS SETLIST:
Hold of Me
Need You Now
A Place We Knew
Lose My Mind
Half a Man
Time To Go
Don’t Hold Me
When You Were Young (The Killers cover)
For The Last Time
Straight Back Down