The Dunwells @ Kilby 03.25

Posted March 28, 2012 in

The Dunwells' latest album: Blind Sighted Faith.
It was kind of a disappointing sight. Maybe it was just due to the fact that it was a Sunday night, or the season premiere of Mad Men was on TV, but for whatever reason, there was a very small turnout to see The Dunwells, a five-piece group from Leeds, England. The handful of people who did show up for the show, however, witnessed some of the finest harmonies to bounce off the cheap, makeshift walls of Kilby Court in a long time.

With a microphone in front of each member of the band, intricate harmonies rang out from the speakers throughout their hour-long set featuring tunes from their new album, Blind Sighted Faith. Led by brothers Joe and David Dunwell, there were a couple times where it was almost hard to believe such good sounds could emanate from inside such a rickety, beat-up venue. The band’s vocal harmonies and acoustic sound is similar to that of Mumford and Sons or the Avett Brothers, but during a couple of their songs on Sunday night, it leaned toward a heavier sound thanks to Dave Hanson and his Gibson Les Paul. Hanson’s electric playing put some meat onto the bones of the Dunwell brothers’ folk sound, which was mostly comprised of acoustic guitars, although David also played the banjo, electric guitar, and keyboards during their set.

The rhythm section, made up of bassist Rob Clayton and drummer Jonny Lamb, was also impressive. The duo drove the band all night long, especially on songs such as “Hand That Feeds” with Clayton’s bass lines meshing seamlessly with Lamb’s relentless snare drum. Even though the band sang intricate harmonies on most of their songs, the tune, “Oh Lord” featured some of the best vocals of their set, drawing comparisons to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Despite the dismal size of the crowd, the band did their best to converse and joke around between songs, and they didn’t appear to be phased by the intimate setting. At one point, after the smattering of applause from the crowd faded, Hanson’s electric guitar began to randomly produce bursts of feedback. The rest of the band just laughed about it and took it in stride, as Hanson tried to find the problem with an amusing look on his face. It was refreshing to see a band be able to enjoy themselves on stage and then play so intense and well immediately afterward.

The band is playing a couple more shows in California before flying back home to England, where they will tour some more. Even though they’ll be overseas for a few months, they will return for another tour in the states later on this summer. To some extent, I was kind of embarrassed to see such a small turnout for an impressive band, but the five-piece group still managed to put on a solid show for those few that were there watching.
The Dunwells' latest album: Blind Sighted Faith.