Soul Sister Dance Revolution at The Olympia Theatre – Photos and Review
Soul Sister Dance Revolution opened for Imagine Dragons in the Olympia on Tuesday 20th of August.
The band introduced themselves to a roar from the enthusiastic crowd filling the venue. They wasted no time going into first track ‘Playground Kids’ which opened with harmonic ‘ooh’s and incorporated them throughout. The atmosphere was electric from the second they hit the stage, including the band themselves! There was prolonged screams from the audience as the song finished but the band dove energetically into a rocking intro with hammering drums and rock hard guitar and tambourine. The lyrics of ‘Baby Gazelle’ fired things up and this track was an ideal gig song; young, rocking, heavy and energetic. Flashing strobes tripled the energy and the abrupt ending made the audience’s racing hearts skip a beat.
They introduced the next song, ‘Hold The Line’ and told us to shake our hips. This track had a fantastic, gritty guitar riff and some impressive harmonies in the chorus. At one stage a pause in the instrumental allowed a brief emphasis on the vocals which was striking. IN the chorus in particular every musical element combined beautifully to create a harmony of awesome sound.
They asked the audience if they were in the mood to listen to Imagine Dragons because they had ‘heard they were playing tonight’ which a got a brief laugh before the next track ‘Hearts’ took over.
It started out slow with a drum count in, gently easing into the loud powerful lyrics and gradually upping in volume until the lyric line finished and the music kicked up a notch. This track had a few moments that were a little Killers-esque but with their own twist. There were some more nice harmonies and a badass guitar moment before another kick that crashed all the guitars together before paring back to quiet and minimal and ending in a final soaring swell.
They strummed right on into ‘Eye of the Storm’ with the keyboardist getting a clap going. You could really hear the lyrics on this one, something you don’t always get when you see rock-ier indie-er bands live. There was a pause in the music to start another clap as the bass and guitars built up to a powerful instrumental that got everyone dancing and had the whole band smiling as they played.
At this stage the band had stripped off their jackets and the night had truly heated up. They complemented the crowd on their energy as they introduced ‘Start a War’ which the described as a dancey tune. It opened with an interesting effect on the bass and a tick-tick rhythm on the guitar. The lyrics were spoken rather than sung on the opening which was kind of mellow and steady, the kind of sound you couldn’t help bobbing your head to. Pink lights and swirling smoke added an atmosphere to the eerily beautiful oohs and the harmonies in the heavier ending that had audience’s heads banging!
They reminded us that they were the Soul Sister Dance Revolution and so asked us to dance along with them through the next song ‘Soldiers of Love’. The band drifted closer and closer together as the song went on before exploding away from each other as the music built up! This track was positively possessing in the way it got into the audience and band alike. Quieter moments contrasted with louder sections and there was a particularly memorable guitar solo. They got the audience to sing the chorus while clapping with rhythm before taking over the vocals again to finish off with a phenomenal energy that had the crowd going mental!
A couple of striking twangs of guitar kicked off the next song with moody blue lighting and the drums got a clap going. The music built and built until it was like an enormous bubble of sound ready to burst. They asked us ‘Dublin are you ready!?’ and the sound exploded. This was a song that shook the very foundations of the Olympia as the keyboardist and guitarist screamed into the mics. The keyboardist’s tambourine actually flew off to the side of the stage in the frenzy of energy and sound until he retrieved it and danced Mick Jagger style around the stage while band shook their various hairdos!
For the penultimate track the lead singer kicked off a heavy guitar riff, the other guitarist joined in and the lyrics and tambourine followed before finally being joined by the drums and bass. ‘Don’t Walk Away’ was the kind of music made for gigs; energetic, powerful and just heavy and rocking enough that it might be done justice on recording. There were some interesting keyboard effects in the instrumental section of the track which really added a unique twist. The sudden ending was like someone had flipped a switch and we were left breathless.
They thanked us for being a brilliant audience and proceeded straight on into their final track. It opened with another chillingly gritty guitar riff and was almost a rap at times in the lyrics. They really worked the crowd and got them going as much as possible as this was the fastest, heaviest number of the set-a wall of crashing, clashing, rocking sound that overwhelmed. Even after the track finished the crowd was so riled up that they roared every time a member of the band returned to the stage to move equipment (especially the now near-shirtless keyboardist).
The gig was a flurry of energy that was almost too much to keep up with. The music was exactly the kind of thing you wanted to listen to to get pumped-especially while waiting for the main act of the night. The band really stood out in their own right as well and took a fantastic gig and made it phenomenal. It is rare that a night sees two truly stand-out acts but these guys not so much warmed up the crowd but set them on fire! A great first half to one of the most lively and incredible concerts of the summer for Dublin!
Review by Kat Clinch
Photos by David Doyle