Kodaline at The Royal Hospital Kilmainham – Review & Photos
A glorious evening awaited anyone making their way to Kilmainham, and with three Irish acts on the bill it was set to be a homegrown celebration.
I arrived just in time to hear Little Hours’ ‘Tired’ ringing out from the stage, the video for which was recently released and can be seen here. They glide through their set with ease, showcasing beautiful harmonies for ‘Crossfire’ and getting the crowd on their side for the Meteor Song of the Year nominated ‘It’s Still Love’. They’ve been turning a lot more heads recently and it’s only going to keep getting better for this duo from Donegal.
Hudson Taylor are those guys you want to be your friends, up there to have a good time and pretty damn good at making sure the crowd do too. From their days of busking on top of bins they’ve always had a flair for performing, but it’s clear the stage is where they’re meant to be. It becomes a sing-along for tracks such as ‘Weapons’ and ‘Butterflies’, with the noise levels happily increasing for ‘Chasing Rubies’ and ‘Battles’. They also played with an additional violin which worked perfectly among their harmonies.
With the venue packed out to the back of the concession stands, Kodaline emerged to a roar of appreciation and went straight into the energetic ‘Ready’. The harmonica quickly made an appearance and ‘Love Like This’ soared around the crowd, sending loud voices into the air. ‘Way Back When’ is perfectly created for a summer’s evening, with “we’d go drinking in the afternoon, lie out on the grass and fall asleep” seemingly very fitting considering the groups of friends and couples who had sprawled lazily around just before the band came on.
Steve Garrigan’s vocals are on top form, becoming especially evident as they launch into ‘One Day’. There’s a sense of rawness and quality to his voice, and when accompanied by the band’s efforts as a whole, you can easily see why they’re loved by many. The ever popular ‘High Hopes’ is adored by everyone (and rightly so) before ‘The One’ gets dedicated to a recently engaged couple.
Kodaline have definitely brought their live act along in leaps and bounds since I first saw them play The Sugar Club in 2012. They’re now more capable than ever to put on a show, toying with additional sound effects for ‘Lost’, showcasing an impressive outro for ‘Coming Alive’, having the presence of backing singers and even welcoming trumpets and a saxophone on stage for ‘Love Will Set You Free’. This song also saw Steve and Mark Prendergast’s guitar teacher Gerry making a special guest appearance to perform with the band. It was such a touching gesture and also highlighted how they’ve stayed true to their roots and will never forget where they started out.
The difference in their stage presence from previous gigs is also notable too, so much more comfortable and visibly taking the time to enjoy the crowd and feed off their energy. It seems to always be Steve left to take on the crowd for some interaction, but it would be a nice touch to hear from the others at separate intervals throughout the set. That being said, Steve still manages to make it very clear how happy they are to playing in Dublin, and how much they love an Irish crowd.
Their encore is an almost mash-up style affair, with ‘Honest’ being followed by ‘Big Bad World’ and snippets of ‘Perfect World’ creeping through. The song progression in this way flows really well, and I think they would have also benefited had it also featured more throughout their set. To the delight of the crowd, they finish up with the beautiful ‘All I Want’, with every voice sweeping through the air to take over from the band and bring it all home for a flurry of confetti and a gold shimmering backdrop of goodness.
Kodaline have a place in the hearts of Irish people. Even as we all jammed into a Luas that was definitely over-capacity, an impromptu sing-along of ‘High Hopes’ broke out and spirits were high. They sent everyone home happy and I’m pretty certain by their on-stage reactions that they throughly enjoyed it too.
Review by Nicole Leggett
Photos by Tudor Marian