Kodaline At Marlay Park – Photos & Review
Just over 4 years have passed since Dublin/Kildare quartet Kodaline set foot on the tiny stage of Dublin’s Sugar Club for their debut headline show in the capital. Having found fleeting early fame under the name 21 Demands via RTE’s now defunct tv talent show You’re A Star, the band decided to regroup under an altered line-up with a newly mature sound which put their previous indie-rock efforts to shame. Big things were expected, and anyone in attendance that night caught an early glimpse of what was to follow. The only real surprise then has been the swiftness of the band’s upward trajectory, as they progressively filled each of Ireland’s top music venues, The Button Factory, The Olympia, and the 3Arena, with relative ease. Thus, it’s no surprise that tonights mega-gig in the 38,000 capacity Marlay Park is packed from front to back. It’s a heartwarming testament to Irish radio and gig going audiences just how the band have been taken in.
Kerry’s Walking On Cars prove the perfect choice to open proceedings, with a selection of the strongest cuts from their number one debut album Everything This Way. With songs like the emotionally powerful ‘Always Be With You’ and ‘Speeding Cars’ finally getting the international radio play they deserve, it may not be too long before they are headlining similar-sized venues themselves. Flame-haired songstress Jess Glynne may have seemed an odd choice for main support, sandwiched between two of Ireland’s premier pop-rock bands, but she dispels any doubts with an assured live set that goes down a storm, with ‘Take Me Home’ and the now-ubiquitous Clean Bandit collaboration ‘Rather Be’ stealing the show.
The stage is set for Ireland’s biggest musical homecoming since The Script took to the Croke Park stage last Summer, and the 4-piece get things underway with the electro-rock chug of ‘Ready’, the lyric “never let the pressure overpower the fun” serving as something of a mantra for the musicians onstage in their biggest ever headline show. Mid-tempo acoustic rocker ‘One Day’ follows, ticking all the right ‘anthemic’ boxes while the feel-good riff of ‘Brand New Day’ was made for events like this. For all their radio-conquering hits, Kodaline prove that can still excel when experimenting with their sound as the Muse-like synthy atmospherics of ‘Lost’ showcase another side to the band. Tonight however, is about big stadium singalongs and the group’s biggest domestic hit, the sublime ‘High Hopes’, is dropped reasonably early in the set helping to get the crowd’s collective voices warmed up for the remainder of the evening. The folky ‘Way Back When’ exudes chilled-out summer vibes while the earworm melodies of ‘Autopilot’ show the 4-piece have plenty of singalong anthems in reserve beyond the singles.
The band begin to sound more at home in the stadium-sized setting on the more uptempo numbers, the excellent technicolor pop of ‘Coming Alive’ and the upbeat folk-rock of ‘Love Like This’ sees them really hitting their stride and the release of giant balloons upon the audience shows they’ve been taking staging tips from stadium-fillers Muse and Coldplay. The massive video screens hovering over the stage relive Robbie Brady’s soon to be-iconic winning goal against Euro 2016 opponents Italy before the band tear through a searing rendition of ‘Play The Game’ flanked by some impressive pyrotechnics. With shades of Achtung Baby, it’s their most U2-esque moment yet and showcases a rather underrated level of musical versatility.
A collaboration with Norwegian DJ Kygo resulted in a huge Summer radio hit for the band and tonight, though stripped of its EDM backing, ‘Raging’ slots in seamlessly amongst their biggest hits. Finishing with an 8 minute extended version of the now-classic ‘All I Want’, accompanied by confetti cannons, Kodaline proved tonight that despite being just two albums in, they have compiled a strong collection of top quality, festival-friendly songs. Despite the lack of critical kudos thrown their way, the 4-pieces are master craftsmen at what they do, and are rapidly becoming as good as anyone in their field.
Photos by Pedro Giaquinto
Review by Gary O’Donnell