BY PETER MCGORAN
I was privileged to get a chance to interview Kodaline and get a sneak peak to their sound check ahead of this gig. They are thorough, hardworking and are affectionately good craic, able to joke and laugh with each other the whole way through rehearsals; these guys have that kind of incredible chemistry that lets their fans know they really enjoy performing their music. Needless to say it made for a delightful live routine.
Taking to the stage after sound performances by James Bay and Bipolar Empire (Bipolar Empire in particular putting on a great show and making themselves one to watch out for the future), Kodaline begin the night with “After The Fall”, a song with a hook so catchy that it would give any Coldplay hit a run its money. By the time they finish, we’re already holding our breath for the next one.
The Dublin-based band keeps the tempo and the energy running high with a spirited, highly emotive rendition of “Pray”. This is then followed by their newest single “Brand New Day”. Each sparkling song is a foot-tapper and a crowd-pleaser. Kodaline’s niche seems to be found in their ability to create memorable riffs and choruses that are easily picked up. This point is proven further when the entire crowd sings along to “Love Like This” and lead singer Stephen Garrigan smiles as his work is done for him.
The hits continue to be churned out effortlessly and the audience engagement is first class (a quality which is so paramount in a venue where people can drift away at any stage to the bar). When Kodaline break into “High Hopes” – one of their foremost singles – the bar is empty and the audience are squeezing to the front to get a better glimpse of a band in full form. After a few more songs to wind things down, Kodaline go off stage and aren’t given even the slightest chance to settle as the crowd howls for an encore. As they come on stage, their instruments are noticeable absent. We’re intrigued. Then they do something entirely unexpected and break into an acapella rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me”. As they motion the crowd to join in, I reassert my earlier observation at the sound check that these guys are, above all, enthusiastically good craic.
Kodaline finish the night with “All I Want” which builds from its emotional beginnings into a powerful, climactic crescendo that seems to knock you breathless. It’s a remarkable song to hear live and it music seems to reverberate around the room long after Kodaline have left the stage for a second time.
First-rate gig. We should all look forward to hearing more from them in the future.