Kodaline at Brixton Academy
It’s almost been three years without a new Kodaline album but perhaps a full Brixton Academy gave the Irish alt-rockers some extra encouragement to complete the long-awaited project. The band’s presence was so hotly anticipated that there were premature cheers when the water bottle guy snuck in.
Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People was an unusual teaser as smoke filled the stage before the quartet stepped out. Everyone was four years younger again when Kodaline kicked things off with Love Like This. Fans have had enough time to memorise the entire back catalogue so the high energy levels never sagged as the group went from Ready to Ready to Change and the crowd didn’t skip a line (though the similar titles of those two songs audibly confused some of the die-hards’ plus-ones).
The vigour in tunes like Ready to Change should be attributed to drummer Vinny May Jr whose upstaging performance reached its pinnacle when the other band members circled him at the end as if to say, “Only you can close this”. The one track sans drums, frontman Steve Garrigan’s solo acoustic rendition of The One, featured the most memorable moment of the concert. One man knew his girlfriend was the one and proposed. The Academy reacted with euphoria and Garrigan dedicated the song to the newly engaged couple.
For all the emotionally driven lyrics, the evening radiated with positivity. Two other hugely crowd-pleasing moments involved guests: Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid appeared for Love Will Set You Free and opener Áine Cahill got everyone in a festive mood, putting on her best Kirsty MacColl for a cover of Fairytale of New York.
Fans’ hunger for new music was savoured in October with I Wouldn’t Be, the lyrics of which are like a personal letter from Kodaline to their followers in musical form. It’s the optimal song for the encore, except it didn’t fulfil that potential when Garrigan didn’t look at the crowd at any point, instead facing sideways as he had done for half of the set list – a set list that needs to be refreshed if the band wants a love like this that lasts forever with their audience.
For now, though, their choices are safe and sound. They’ll always be able to count on fans to join them for that final section of All I Want, that one iconic lyric reoccurring throughout their entire discography – “Ooh ooh”.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit Kodaline’s website here.
Watch the video for Brother here: