I caught up with The Dunwells for the grand finale of their "Light Up The Skies" Tour at Leeds Town Hall.
The grandeur of the location for the conclusion was in stark contrast to the rest of the dates - this promised to be a very special homecoming show. The guys had played to large crowds before, but not that much on this side of the pond, and certainly not in Leeds. That said, the guys seemed ridiculously calm with the situation - likely after months of touring in massive venues stateside. The only Dunwell displaying any kind of nerves was the other brother, Matt, who had booked the gig and was responsible for getting bums on seats.
It was a good opportunity for me to catch up with the guys as I'd not seen them for a few months, and quite a bit had changed - The band was now a four-piece, and Johnny was now a very proud Dad. I got down to the venue nice and early to catch the guys getting the venue ready - wheeling in amps and cabs, tweaking lighting rigs, tuning snare drums - it was great camera fodder for me.
I mingled in amongst the band and the techs to get some nice reportage stuff, as well as being my typical guitar-geek self, chatting to Dave about his collection of interesting Seymour-Duncan-modded Schecter guitars. It was also good to finally meet the bands manager, Kevin, who had flown over from the US for the gig.
I was pleased to see my buddies Man Can't Fly down as main support for the evening, as the guys had put a lot of work in over the past few months - I was gutted to miss their EP launch at the Cockpit last year. This was the first time I'd seen them perform with vocalist A Girl Called Ruth, who I had a good natter to about cameras - she'd recently acquired a Fuji X100s (of which I am very jealous) and I gave her a quick crash course in how to use it. Now I want one. Damn.
The gig itself was really tough to shoot, as it was totally seated (much like the Daughter gig I covered there last year). I was mindful that I'm not the easiest person to look around so I had to be as unobtrusive as possible to the crowd, shooting mainly from the aisles and empty seats.Having seen these guys grow over the past year or so, it was great to see them get such a response in an ambitious large venue, although to many it was probably never in doubt. Hectic US schedules have blessed the guys with a meticulous natural performance, and by the close of the set the crowd was on their feet singing along to the beautiful harmonies. I don't think the guys could have asked for it to go any better.
As is the norm, I scarpered before the encore to ensure I didn't obstruct the climax of the evening for any of the punters, after quickly saying my farewells to Johnny, Rob and Dave in the interval. It was a fantastic night, and I'm proud to have been there to document it.
Check out the full gallery, or the slideshow below: