By David Hennessy
The last date on emerging Irish rock band Kodaline’s British tour proved a sell-out success at King’s Cross Scala on Thursay last April 4, with support provided by Dublin singer/songwriter, Gavin James and In The Valley, a band from LA.
Although yet to release their debut album, Kodaline are certainly the Irish band to watch out for. Tracks like All I Want and High Hopes, have seen them nominated for the BBC Sound of 2013 poll and MTV’s Brand New for 2013.
A lengthy queue had formed long before the doors opened and it was Gavin James who was first on stage to warm up the crowd. With guitar in hand and playing solo, Gavin entertained with his powerful vocals, flawless playing and also, amiable personality.
The Dubliner seemed all too aware of his low profile over in the UK and that he was introducing his audience to new songs but still managed to get them to sing along to strong ballads like Coming Home and Remember Me. At one point, he unplugged his guitar and asked for a little bit of hush to play acoustically and unamplified with his obedient audience going silent and even sshing those who were still entering a little too noisily.
There was then a performance from the American band In The Valley that took us up to the main event and Kodaline walking onstage. Opening with Lose Your Mind, there was singing along and much dancing from the word go. Lead singer, Steve Garrigan thanked his audience for coming out on such a cold night before going into Pray from their eponymous EP. Garrigan thanked his audience for singing along to Perfect World. Love Like This followed and it was then that Garrigan had to pour a bottle of water over his head to cool himself down. Delighted to pick up on an audience member speaking Irish, he explained to those that may not know that “dia duit” means how are you? Reflecting on the gig being their last date of the tour, the singer, guitarist and keyboardist thanked the packed house once again for coming out before going into One Day. The last few bars of which saw a blood curdling scream go up from the audience. Like many of those in the audience, Garrigan acknowledged the “crazy scream” with a laugh. Before beginning the next number, Garrigan addressed all sides of his audience individually with all responding warmly.
The very first bars of the next song saw the biggest roar of the night so far. It was High Hopes, the current single and number one single in Ireland (reaching number 16 in the UK). There were phones and cameras being produced everywhere with many recording the rendition for YouTube or just posterity while also singing along with Garrigan again applauding his fans for their “great singing”.
Their fans were then treated to The Answer, a beautiful ballad that comes with a heart breaking animated video that illustrates how one’s life can be destroyed by their own rage and jealousy. Garrigan remembered when he played to four people “and two of those were in the supporting band”, and how such experiences made him appreciate such a crowd turning out for him in London. The crowd were then to receive a special treat. Even though they hadn’t done it for while, Garrigan and his band members unplugged instruments and took up a position among the crowd and on the balcony on the right hand side of the stage to perform a cover of Latch by Disclosure. With guitarist Mark Prenderghast only accompanied by a little tambourine and all four voices, the crowd loved hearing the lads unplugged with, as it seemed, everyone in the building joining in and singing along. It was great to see a band who have such a connection with their audience. Although the orginal is more electronic, Kodaline have taken a beautiful tune and made it their own, with the final chorus going into the high point of All I Want. This was to hint at what was coming.
All I Want, which has been lauded by the music press and had a lot to do with getting Kodaline noticed, caused the crowd to nearly lift the roof off the building. Loved for its Beauty and the Beast inspired video as well as beautiful sound, the song has already featured on Grey’s Anatomy. Many had been waiting for it and it was a terrific way to end the show.
This was the best live show The Irish World has been at for a long time. If looking to see a great Irish band, go to see Kodaline next time they are in the UK. That is, of course, if you can get a ticket.
Kodaline’s debut album, In A Perfect World is out on June 10. For more information, go to: http://www.kodaline.com/.