Kodaline @ Corona Theatre – December 1, 2018

Opening band was Ocean Park Standoff. A trio comprised of singer/guitarist Ethan Thompson, drummer Pete Nappi and keyboardist/backing vocals/guitarist Samantha Ronson. I thought the woman looked familiar then realized she was the British born/American raised DJ/musician, sister of producer Mark Ronson and former girlfriend of actress Lindsay Lohan. She comes from a very well off and musical background. Now she and her band are touring North America as an opening act. Travelling on buses, selling their own merch and paying their musical dues.

Together since 2014, Ocean Park Standoff’s sound is pop and lead singer Thompson is energetic to say the least. He worked hard getting the crowd into their set. Their compact 30 minute set was made up of their songs “Good News”, “Hey Kid”, “Great Big World”, “Good Time”, “Tunnel Lights”, “If You Were Mine”, “Lost Boys”, and “We Do”.

Unlike the opening band headliners Kodaline have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success over a short period of time. Over the past six years they have become one of Irish most successful bands. That is saying a mouthful as the small island nation (total population is about half of what the province of Quebec’s is) has always produced a ton of great musicians/bands. Now you have U2, Hozier, The Script, The Coronas, Flogging Molly, Little Green Cars, My Bloody Valentine, Snow Patrol, The Strypes, Waterboys, and Two Door Cinema Club. Kodaline might just find themselves at the top or near it of that impressive bunch.

Together as Kodaline since 2012, the four members – Steve Garrigan (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards, harmonica), Mark Prendergast (guitar, keyboards), Vincent May (drums), and Jason Boland (bass) – are not exactly the most dynamic performers. Definitely taking the blue collar approach, they just go about their business and their business is making catchy, accessible pop music.

I never really realized how much their music is played on Irish radio (which I listen to exclusively). Of the 17 songs which made up their set, I have heard 14 of the 17 songs. Impressive as they have only had three albums so far. Taking the stage at the Corona Theatre for the first show of two, the Irish foursome gave everyone who came (and the show was sold out) what they wanted. Hit after hit. From the first notes of “Follow Your Fire” off their latest album (and the name of the present tour), Politics of Living right until the final song, “High Hopes” the crowd sang along. Like a night of great craic in Dublin, sing-a-long after sing-a-long happened.

This amount of energy was accomplished without the band running around the stage like wild men, pyrotechnics of any sort or even much in between song banter. Garrigan et al just went about their business while still demonstrating they enjoy very much what they do for a living.

The brand of soft pop which the band produces is just highly likeable and listenable. They stay very much within the guidelines of that sub genre save for a few change ups. One is the track “Follow Your Fire” with its big drums and venturing into an almost alternative sound. Soft pop suits their lyrics which are almost exclusively dedicated to love. All rather emotional stuff.

The great acoustics of the Corona Theatre played a big part of what happened during Kodaline’s 90 minutes on stage. Sound is great and the band along with the crowd fed off of that. It is small enough that you can get close up to whomever is on stage while at the same time providing such great sound that you can get lost in the music forgetting where you are. Sightlines are also great. You can see the faces of the performers no matter if you are on the floor in front, at the back near the bar or sitting up in the balcony.

If you know me, then you know one of my pet peeves when attending a concert is when the act on stage insists on shouting “Montreal”, or whatever city they are in, over and over. It is lazy. A cheap way to get applause or a scream from the crowd. As concert attenders I wish that no one would respond to it ever again, but…Frontman Garrigan did it ad nauseum. Sometimes several times during a single song. Stop!

They come highly recommended and are playing at the Corona Theatre again tonight, so you still have a chance to see them live. Buy tickets at www.evenko.ca 

Setlist:

  1. Follow Your Fire
  2. Brand New Day
  3. Ready
  4. Honest
  5. Brother
  6. Shed a Tear
  7. Head Held High
  8. The One (Acoustic)
  9. Angel
  10. I Wouldn’t Be
  11. Love Like This
  12. One Day
  13. Hell Froze Over
  14. Raging(Kygo cover)
  15. Love Will Set You Free

    Encore:

  16. All I Want
  17. High Hopes

 

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