Gig Reviews Music Reviews

Music | Review: Kodaline @ Whelan’s 2/7/2014

You wouldn’t usually pick a Wednesday as a night to be spoilt for choice when it comes to gigs, but tonight Kodaline play the first of two shows in Whelan’s – both sold out – and elsewhere we have EELS and Kanye West performing in venues within 15-20mins of this gig by foot and by bus.  Kodaline could have easily put these two charity shows for Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association in a bigger venue if they wanted, but for those who are squeezed into Whelan’s, but glad they didn’t.

The Swords/Maynooth four-piece played three sold out shows at The Olympia back in November 2013 and then one at The O2 in March of this year.  Having been at one of those Olympia gigs, it was intimate but when you pack out a small/medium like Whelan’s, then the atmosphere can multiply.

Tonight Orla Gartland and Kid Karate opened proceedings, two acts well-known in Koda-circles with Orla having performed a cover of the band’s single ‘Love Like This’ with Gavin James before, while Kid Karate have had some of their early work produced by Kodaline bassist Jason Boland in the early days.

When the band arrive on stage, the room is hot, even the pints are burning by the looks of it.  But that’s soon forgotten as the opening chords of ‘After The Fall’ are played on keys and the crowd’s attention is now on other something greater.

Watching them play further into their set, you understand why Kodaline are such a ‘hot’ prospect in terms of talent.  Their songwriting is emotional without being to soppy.  There’s also only four of them, no gimmicks on stage, just straight up indie-pop with a hint of folk tones when the mandolin comes in.

‘Brand New Day’ is the third song in, and as a few words are uttered by singer Steve Garrigan about their welcome when returning to Dublin, they break into a verse and chorus of ‘Dirty Old Town’ by The Pogues, which the audience sing along “I met my love, by the Gas Works wall…”

The introduction of the harmonica during this short cover signals the arrival of their next track ‘Love Like This’.  After Garrigan notes “This is our first time playing Whelan’s” and it’s an odd thing when you think about it, seeing as most bands play Whelan’s and other venues of a similar calibre a rake of times before moving shows to venues like The Olympia or Vicar St.  The band briefly played a show in The Sugar Club long before the arrival of debut album ‘In A Perfect World’, probably one of the smallest the band has played here.

The rest of this twelve song set is hit filled, single after single with the odd exception of a b-side from an early EP.  ‘Way Back When’, ‘High Hopes’, and ‘All Comes Down’ are played before the encore of ‘In A Perfect World’ and favourite of the night – possibly overall – ‘All I Want’.

This gig was far from the big stages of Glastonbury in size, but Kodaline prove that every show is aiming to be their best yet.  A great night, a great group of musicians, a great cause.

Kodaline Set List:

  1. After The Fall
  2. One Day
  3. Pray
  4. Brand New Day
  5. Dirty Old Town (Pogues Cover)
  6. Love Like This
  7. Way Back When
  8. Lose Your Mind
  9. High Hopes
  10. All Comes Down
  11. In A Perfect World
  12. All I Want