Despite appearing to only have burst onto the music scene two years ago with their popular folk album In a Perfect World, Irish band Kodaline, formerly known as 21 Demands, have actually been together for over nine years. Now, finally playing to the larger audiences they deserve with a sold-out gig at Rock City, Kodaline show that they have learned from their previous experience – and that practice really does make perfect – with a carefully crafted ninety-minute show.
Excitement and hopes were already high for the concert as the rapidly-thickening audience congregated in the main hall of Rock City. The crowd was comprised exclusively of teenagers, excluding a layer of chaperoning parents lining the perimeter of the hall. The mainly female crowd’s chattering about their favourite performances ‘last time’ revealed the majority of them had seen the band previously, a testament to Kodaline’s loyal, and still swelling, young fanbase.
Support for the show came in the form of bands White Chalk and both also from the Emerald Isle, embodying the current Irish-infiltration of the UK music scene. The inclusion of two support bands and thus a drawn-out wait meant that when Kodaline finally appeared, the crowd went absolutely wild. The band took their places on the low stage, and didn’t move for the whole show. Those in the crowd with a clear view of lead singer Steve Garrigan breathed a sigh of relief while those of us stuck behind a flock of six-foot boys were forced to accept we weren’t going to see much. Along with their movement, Kodaline’s crowd interaction was also kept to a minimum. Possibly the band are still not used to larger audiences, although this simply allowed them more time to phase through their well-designed setlist.
spectacular, pulsing visual feast alongside Garrigan’s unconventional vocals gave a powerful live-music experience despite the band staying stationary on the stage
The number of songs from their first and sophomore albums were balanced equally, and the change in style was easily detectable; From the old country-style jaunts seemingly cut from the same indie-rock hit mould, to unique new songs distinctly different from one another. The song which really kicked off the gig, however, was their third tune, ‘Unclear’. It started off delicately and burst spectacularly into a faster paced, drum-thumping affair with what can only be described as incredible, melodic howling by Garrigan. Teamed with the thrashing white lights, the song mirrored the gig in its deceivingly average start interrupted by a display of the incredible talent the band are really capable of.
The lighting-technicians really had their work cut out during the show, and the lighting played a very important role in the performance. When all six spotlights were focused on lead singer Garrigan at the center of the stage his blonde mop was left illuminated, leaving him looking pretty angelic. A blue wash accompanied slower, moodier songs whilst red flashing lights punctuated faster-paced fares, giving the impression of watching the show through 3D glasses. This spectacular, pulsing visual feast alongside Garrigan’s unconventional vocals gave a powerful live-music experience despite the band staying stationary on the stage.
it was so compelling that some people didn’t even bother to turn around to gawp as a troublemaking lout was tackled to the floor by security right by their heels
As exaggerative as it may seem, the show had no dud songs, each hitting the mark with the fans. Nevertheless some songs were more crowd-pleasing than others, prompting Garrigan to stop singing to allow the excited crowd to warble out the lyrics. Their departure from the stage after an hour was received with impatience for an encore. And their return to the stage with their newest single ‘Honest’ didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was so compelling that some people didn’t even bother to turn around to gawp as a troublemaking lout was tackled to the floor by security right by their heels. Last song of the night, ‘All I Want’, was their biggest success commercially and, judging by the crowd’s reaction, a fan favourite. It encapsulates the pleasing acoustic-guitar rapid strumming and vaporous, stripped back vocal sound that Kodaline are well-loved for.
Kodaline’s runaway success just over two years since their rebirth – the release of their first album under a new name with a new sound – suggests a band who will just continue to grow and grow in popularity. And with their gigs already so polished, it’s exciting to see how they can progress and develop even further in the future.
All Photos From: Kathi Rudminat
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