Lewis Del Mar, the experimental alt-pop duo from Rockaway Beach, NY, was back in Columbus last night, headlining a show at A&R Music Bar. The duo features Danny Miller on lead vocals and primarily acoustic guitar, and drummer/producer Max Harwood. For their live shows, the band is joined by bass and electric guitarists, and a keyboardist. Last time the band was in Columbus, they played downstairs in The Basement, but on this night they played before a nearly sold-out crowd upstairs.
The band opened their set with “Such Small Scenes,” the first track off of their self-titled 2016 debut album. Like most of Lewis Del Mar’s lyrics, this song is deeply introspective and illustrative of Miller and Harwood’s journey. With Miller singing “Swimming in my new life downtown/Now I realize/Never felt at home in my hometown/And it's no surprise,” expressing the duo’s path to finding their place. Miller and Harwood met and became friends during elementary school in Washington, D.C., have have been collaborating musically since their middle school days.
Next, the band launched in “14 Faces,” which highlights how the band incorporates other sounds, spoken words, and pauses into their music. These silent pauses that permeate Lewis Del Mar’s songs are just as important as the notes they play, and are what make the band’s music so different than most other alt-pop groups. The band then transitioned to the more sedate “Wave(s)” from their untitled EP, before playing “Puerto Cabezas, NI.” This highly personal song reflects on Miller’s relationship with, and heritage from his Nicaraguan father, in which he sings “I am bound to you/By the mystery of my own name.”
Despite their album having been out for less than a full year, the crowd at A&R Music Bar was singing along with nearly every track the band played, most notably on their current single, “Painting (Masterpiece).” The band closed its main set with “Tap Water Drinking,” featuring an extended electric guitar solo from Miller.
After a short break, the band returned to the stage for a two song encore. First, they were joined by opening artist, Anna Wise, who teamed up with Lewis Del Mar for an excellent cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway.” The night then ended with “Loud(y),” the song that has propelled the duo to their initial success, after it was released online in 2015, and that the crowd had been anxiously waiting to hear all night.
It was another great performance by the duo in Columbus, only being slightly marred by sub-standard sound in A&R Music Bar. Until a microphone change after the fourth song, it was very difficult to clearly make out Miller’s vocals, and even after the change many in the crowd were calling out in between songs for them to turn up the vocals.
1. Such Small Scenes
2. 14 Faces
4. Puerto Cabezas, NI
9. Live That Long
10. Painting (Masterpiece)
11. Malt Liquor
12. Tap Water Drinking
13. Runaway (Kanye West cover w/ Anna Wise)