Kodaline at 3Arena, Dublin, 11th December 2015
Returning to 3Arena a year and a half after introducing themselves to the big stage, Kodaline looked to cement themselves as arena stalwarts. Before we go on, it is important to note that Kodaline are a safe band, recycling the rhythmic sections of Indie’s elite on a few occasions – does the verse on Ready remind anyone else of Kings Of Leon’s The Bucket by any chance? They produce the type of music, if the attendance is anything to go by, that is typically earmarked for pre-pubescent teens making their first forays into guitar music. Or professionals with a lack of adventure.
But that’s not to say that their oeuvre isn’t impressive. The sentiments are there. The choruses are there. The howling refrains are there in abundance. Brand New Day and Love Like This, in which Kodaline embrace their folkier side, are instant earworms. While his crowd interaction whilst minimal – and if you were being picky could be considered tired and formulaic – frontman Steve Garrigan can be forgiven for being nervous. This was their biggest tour to date after all.
Ultimately, this was a delectable performance, the band carrying out their duty with aplomb. They managed perfectly to transcend their mellow Indie-pop from your earphones to the heights of the arena, the audio-visuals supplementing their performance to just the right amount. It was refreshing too to see how the band grasped their opportunity seeming to really enjoy it. Bringing out a host of musicians including Gabrielle Aplin and Hudson Taylor for the first song of their encore (a beautiful celebratory rendition of The Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl’s Christmas classic, Fairytale of New York) was a nice touch. And a leftfield yet well-synced launchpad into your traditional encore.
It was perhaps fitting that they should end with the song that propelled them to fame back in 2013, All I Want, the crescendo extended and executed wonderfully. Overall, this was an enjoyable performance by an intelligent band. Yet, while we’re never going to see Kodaline dabble in Alternative Egyptian Hip-Hop, it would just be nice to see them, as they sustain high popularity, step outside their comfort zone.