Louis Dunford Review: Gritty singer-songwriter spills heart to home town crowd

Louis Dunford doesn't do fillers and his fans were reminded that much on Tuesday night.

Every song over the course of the north Londoner’s hour-long set at the Lafayette, tugged at the heart no matter upbeat or down.

It would have taken a very cold person to have left the venue untouched by the outpouring of emotion on stage that visibly rippled from the stalls to the balcony.

The cause for such an impact? Vivid storytelling from an artist articulating his trauma in brutally honest and gritty lyricism.

Having said that try listening to Bossman without a grin brandished across your face.

And Louis’ vocals certainly do his often pained but more so nostalgic subject matter justice, as did his performances on both the guitar and keys on the night.

Louis refuses to sugarcoat his personal tragedies and the result put all dry eyes in the venue at risk.

In the tracks Henry the Brave and Ballard of Benjamin, Louis passionately shares his heartbreak of losing not one but two close friends in separate incidents.

Off went the band to leave Louis alone at his most vulnerable – a fitting reflection of his losses.

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During which, moved members of the crowd echoed one another bellowing out “Come on Louis” as though he stepping up for a cup final penalty.

The support appeared to help steer him through lines such as: “And I was there I swear I tried my best, to stop the bleeding from the holes in your chest then I screamed Ben, please just stay awake I’ve got to get you home.”

My Generation might be Louis’ latest release but there were few inside the Lafayette not singing along to the ridiculously catchy “People say God only knows what we’re trying for, people say God only knows what we’re dying for”.

Yet there was still plenty of euphoria for the scores of flat cap wearing blokes in the crowd to bounce about to.

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Having a band (not least the drummer) behind him undoubtedly helped create the more manic of responses, to the final couple of songs in particular.

Regretamin followed by When We Were Hooligans – both from his 2021 The Moorland EP – ended the night in a chaotic celebration you could sense was coming.

Louis Dunford's next show at the Union Chapel in Islington, London on April 21, will tick off a milestone he dreamt of with his dad.

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