Walking On Cars at 3Arena, Dublin – 23.05.2019
At a time when Irish music is enjoying more international success than ever; when acts are fast become subject to the same reverie usually reserved for international acts from home fans, it seems unfair to dwell on the number of empty seats at Walking On Cars debut 3Arena gig.
That said, it’s a fact that’s hard to ignore, given their counterparts in pop Picture This sold out five nights not long ago, especially given Walking On Cars are not only longer in the tooth, but possibly more respected as an Irish outfit.
Nevertheless, they persist, as the old saying goes. The gang seem excited about rounding out their European tour in Ireland. However, frontman Patrick Sheehy seems over reliant on the piped background vocals for opener Monster.
From a surface level, there appears to be an initial level of discomfort from them all: probably down to general tour fatigue. Three songs in, and things begin to get more fluid. One Last Dance showcases their strength as a collective, as does Two Straight Lines (though the latter comes with a light show that should have been accompanied by an appropriate trigger warning).
Despite this, where Walking On Cars win out over their Irish counterparts who’ve played the arena is with their stage production. It’s simple, cohesive, and reflective of their most recent LP ‘Colours’, in name and nature. It’s particularly effective during tracks like Too Emotional: a track that they almost passed on because it didn’t feel “Walking On Cars enough”. Certainly, it’s less guitar driven, but since when is that a bad thing?
A certain level of chatter drums up during album tracks, but the group soldier on. Love Backs Down brings them together in a tight circle on stage, dishing out acoustic riffs as they do so well under dim lights. Tick Tock brings things back up to speed, and prompts a more switched-on reaction from the audience.
They round out the evening with the classics, the tunes that have been a mainstay on radio stations nationwide: Speeding Car seems like it won’t build to be the anthem it wants to in a live setting, but it gets there thanks to the crowd and some confetti canons.
Walking On Cars bucked the ‘difficult second album’ trend while keeping a foothold in their bread and butter, Irish radio. A band from Kerry playing the 3Arena is nothing to be sniffed at, and it should be a performance that they look back on with satisfaction.