LIVE REVIEW: Lewis Del Mar at Deaf Institute, Manchester

First impressions are everything, particularly for live bands. The challenge is to communicate everything you represent in an instant, and convince any sceptics of your validity. It’s a tough trick to captivate a total stranger, but it’s one that Lewis Del Mar, on the final night of their UK tour, pull off with ease.

Deaf Institute, with its faux decadence and peeling wallpaper, seems the perfect arena for Lewis Del Mar; much in the way that they combine old-school folk with modern, J. Dilla-esque hip hop, so too does Deaf Institute contrast its rickety surroundings with the rawest and freshest of talent, and Lewis Del Mar are no exception. 

You could sense the excitement that the band generate. Deaf Institute’s music hall was heaving, verging on restless in anticipation. As it turns out, this joy was well founded. The band arrived, launched into their set, and it was fireworks from the first note.

What really sold the Lewis Del Mar’s unique electro folk sound was their genuine spontaneity and energy. Rarely to do you see a band so outwardly living for the show, for the performance. They were both musically flawless and also incredibly entertaining, climbing onto the bar, cracking sly but very funny jokes at the expense of their homeland America, and even distributing glasses of wine throughout the front row of the audience, a bewildering but extremely charismatic and fun touch.


And Lewis Del Mar inspire loyalty too, clearly. Their bigger tracks such as Painting (Masterpiece) and Loud(y) were being howled from the front rows all the way to the back, and there was never a dip in enthusiasm from either band or audience throughout the entire set. The band even got away with a Rihanna track, though they seemed surprised at the crowd’s initial bewilderment of such a choice.

If you were to sum up Lewis Del Mar in one word, it would be unstoppable; their performance outclassed any other band I’ve seen at their level. It was fun, lively, surprising, but most importantly it was sincere, nothing felt faked, nothing felt rigid or pre-determined, it really did feel like a very exciting talent was exploding onto the stage. An absolute must see.

Lewis Del Mar’s self-titled debut album is out now. Purchase a copy here:

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