Kodaline at The O2 Dublin – Review & Photos
Kodaline played a sold out show at The O2 Dublin tonight, March 16th 2014.
On Sunday, Kodaline played their first Irish arena gig, marking their remarkable ascent to the summit of Irish musical consciousness, following a string of arena dates in the UK. The Swords natives’ first album in their current guise, ‘In a Perfect World’ was released last year to strong public reaction, but largely negative reviews from critics. Their gig in the O2 this weekend was their largest in the country to date.
They open with the energetic ‘After the Fall’ to inject a bit of vigour to start the show, before relaxing into their usual soft, slow, moody patterns with ‘One Day’ and ‘Pray’, to which the crowd dutifully sing along and try their best to make lively. It’s hard not to let those hairs on the neck stiffen as the lights hit and thousands of vocals bellow out the hooks, but it becomes increasingly clear that this would be a very dreary performance if the crowd weren’t up for it that night. They’re a tight band playing well-written stuff, but the complete absence of any edge to their music just results in an inescapable blandness that it’s hard to ignore.
The hooks of their choruses sound and feel majestic in an arena of adoring and vocal fans, but somewhere in the middle of the set, the realisation sets in that there is little else to the songs other than a hook. With the knowledge that there is no other actual content, myself and everybody else just seem to stumble patiently through each song waiting for that big moment. It’s like enduring the plot of Steven Segal movie, just waiting for the payoff of the gunfights. I’m sure this is a criticism you could apply to any musician with conventional structure, but their particular guilt is notable, a consequence of adhering too rigidly to the formula.
Having said that, the fact remains that their choruses are, in fact, spectacular with the backing of thousands of Irish lungs, typified by the frisson-inducing response to ‘High Hopes’. However, the wordless hook of the night’s closer ‘All I Want’ was simply overwhelming, during which not a single voice remained silent, and not a single spine remained untangled. It still runs through my head even days later. The other two tracks from the otherwise lacklustre encore are ‘The Answer’ and a cover of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’, tracks which truly fail to engage as a consequence of their quietness.
I mentioned above the critical response to their debut album drew adoration from fans and indifference from critics. This gig feels similar – the crowd seem pleased, but it’s difficult to be critically positive about it.
Review by Conor Cosgrave
Photos by Tudor Marian