The Sunflower Lounge
Review by Mark Wakeman
Having been given a choice of gigs to review this sounded like an interesting one as I hadn’t seen The Dunwells play before. Opener Ellisha Green took to the stage to a pleasantly sizeable crowd. I’d had the pleasure of reviewing and speaking to Ellisha when she played on the Eliza May gig at the same venue on 29th August this year.
She had played a good set then but this time she was even better giving us a selection of all original songs which often slowly built into rousing finishes, especially ‘Mother Tell Me’ and ‘Forgive Me’ – a sad song about an interesting summer which went from a wistful folk tune into a powerful crescendo.
Although she was only accompanied by her electric acoustic guitar all her songs were significant in length and she made full use of her half hour, perhaps even going slightly over.
‘Bloodshot’, a song about an amusing story when she went to college minus any make up sounded as good as it did in August and set closer ‘Keep Your Tales’ was possibly the set highlight again, building into an up-tempo climax.
Lissy Taylor in her combat trousers, white cropped t-shirt and long blonde hair would not have looked out of place in any number of girl groups but instead she is a sultry voiced singer who played an almost Lo-Fi and beautifully understated set.
This was her first time playing in Birmingham, but her set was well received as she displayed promising talent and had some nice depth to her songs. Her songs were about a wide range of subjects from love to even about a ghost she saw when she lived in the USA.
‘Quiet Rage’ was a moody highpoint of her set. ‘Carefree’ about not doubting yourself and ‘Wildflowers’ about hope brought a good Birmingham debut to a close.
I hadn’t heard any of her material before but on this showing I’d certainly like to see her play live again.
The Dunwells from Leeds have been together for over a decade and whilst the personnel in the band has changed the one constant has been the eponymous siblings Joe and older brother Dave. There have been many famous feuding rock brothers over the years like Ray and Dave Davies and more recently Liam and Noel Gallagher but luckily the Dunwells banter was all tongue in cheek when Joe broke a string and David had to play a solo number whilst he repaired it.
It was clear that they had a sizeable fanbase in attendance who knew most of the songs and wanted a good time. The Dunwells appreciated this and had the talent and back catalogue to give their fans exactly what they wanted with a well thought out choice of songs from theirthree albums whilst showcasing their new album ‘Something in The Water’.
Over an hour the brothers demonstrated that they are fine all-round musicians and excellent vocalists with especially tight harmonies. The fans appreciated them, and they appreciated their fans, ending up by playing their final songs acoustically in the middle of the room, including a heartfelt tribute to their former sound engineer who had died recently from cancer.
Their final song was appropriately ‘Nothing Left’ as the brothers had given their all in this performance that had saw a delighted crowd exiting The Sunflower Lounge.