Scala & Kolacny Brothers at the Olympia Theatre, June 27th 2015

While LGBTQ Pride celebrations were taking place across Dublin city, an eclectic crowd of people of all ages descends upon the Olympia Theatre to hear Belgian sensation Scala & Kolacny Brothers. Scala & Kolacny Brothers came to great acclaim for their cover of Radiohead’s Creep which was used to accompany the trailer for the film ‘The Social Network’ back in 2010, garnering a phenomenal response worldwide. Since then the female voice choir, Steven Kolacny (composer/arranger/piano) and Stijn Kolacny (conductor) have gone from strength to strength, travelling the world and even being featured in tv series such as Downton Abbey, The Simpsons and Sons of Anarchy.

Although there is a large crowd by the time the main act is due to arrive, the theatre is not full to capacity like Scala & Kolacny Brothers previous shows here back in 2012. Those present have bravely endure the sweltering heat, with many resorting to fanning themselves with their tickets in an effort to stay cool.

The twelve ladies of Scala open the evening with a Steven Kolacny original composition White Moon. A blue-white spotlight appears in the middle of the stage in the shape of the moon whilst the choir gracefully walks onto the stage in small groups singing as they emerge out of the mist. The choir ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ dreamily to the accompaniment of sound samples and pre-recorded drums. After their initially interesting entrance, the audiences attention slowly begins to wane as the girls stand quite still repetitively ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ for what seems an inordinate amount of time. However, things perk up with an ethereal cover of California Dreamin’, closely followed by their infamous cover of Radiohead’s Creep.

A highlight of the night proves to be their heart-wrenching cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters where Scala’s gorgeous harmonies and Steven Kolacny’s piano accompaniment are used to devastating effect. An exclusive premiere of The Boomtown Rats’ classic hit I don’t like Mondays follows, which the brothers hope to record on their next album. For the first time tonight the theatre comes to life with people singing along. Instead of the typical quietness and polite applause most songs have been met with so far, the theatre is buzzing with people enthusiastically discussing this special moment.

Another first for tonight is when Scala & Kolacny Brothers hint at their classical music roots with a contemplative rendition of Danish composer Michael Bojesen’s Evigheden (Eternity). This is later sharply contrasted by an angry outburst of Alanis Morisette’s You Oughta Know. Scala truly comes to life for this song, relishing the faster tempo (in comparison to the songs that had preceded) and the opportunity to show how loud they can really sing. Scala shows another side to their performing capabilities with a mischievous and fun rendition of Manu Chao’s Clandestino.

Surprisingly, the Brothers choose to do a cover of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls; it’s always a risk trying to successfully pull off a Queen cover. However, they manage it with great gusto. They also surprise the audience with renditions of Wide Awake by Belgian group Milk Inc and I Fail by Steven Kolacny, Koen Buyse and Regi Penxten which has the audience clapping and bopping along to these dance tracks. To conclude the night they sing a fan favourite – U2’s With or Without You.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers generally prove themselves to be more than capable of performing original works and covers to a high standard. As far as programming is concerned it would have been nice to see them intersperse songs that encouraged audience involvement throughout the evening instead of saving them all for last almost as an afterthought.