By Siobhan Casey
It was a vaguely overcast Friday night when the crowd began to pour into Dublin’s Royal Hospital Kilmainham to watch The Coronas perform a sellout show. With the venue beginning to fill, Clare native Daithí took to the stage bringing with him his unique style of fiddle infused electro-pop and his indomitable energy. After performing a number of upbeat techno tracks, including his recent single ‘In Flight’ featuring The Coronas frontman Danny O’Reilly, he bade the crowd farewell and disappeared into the fringes of the stage.
The crowd began to fill out as the stage was being set up for the second opening act, The Riptide Movement, and as a large flag emblazoned with the letters ‘TRM’ was unfurled at the back of the stage the sun began to peek its way through the clouds. As the Dublin foursome strolled onto the stage and kicked things off with ‘Hot Tramp’ the crowd were in high spirits. An energetic half hour ensued with a number of their best known songs being performed including ‘Animal’ and ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’. As they wrapped things up with their current single ‘All Works Out’ the crowd were well warmed up for the headliners to make their way to the stage.
Following a suspense-filled flurry of lights The Coronas took to the stage and Danny O’Reilly greeted the crowd in awe, “how’s it going Kilmainham? We’re the Coronas and you look absolutely beautiful”, before kicking things off with a new song from their soon to be released fourth album. Following this they launched straight into ‘Dreaming Again’ during which a colourful whirl of giant balloons was released into the crowd. Keeping up the pace with a smooth succession of songs including ‘Grace Don’t Wait’, ‘Far From Here’ and ‘San Diego Song’ had the crowd singing the lyrics back to the band at the top of their lungs. “When we wrote that song a few years ago we never thought we’d have 10,000 people in a field singing it back to us”, remarked O’Reilly as he conducted the crowd through the final chorus of ‘San Diego Song’. After ‘Dreaming Again Part 2’ O’Reilly took to the piano and led the crowd through heartfelt number ‘The Blind Will Lead The Blind’ concluding with a passionate solo by guitarist Dave McPhillips as an explosion of confetti covered the crowd.
“We’ve just finished working on our next album so we’re gonna play a couple of new songs now if that’s okay” O’Reilly proposed before launching into new song ‘Just Like That’, a catchy indie-rock number that is sure to be a big radio hit. At this point the red velvet curtain that had been the backdrop to the stage fell to reveal an electric screen illuminated with an impressive lights display. While the sun began to set behind Kilmainham the high energy performance continued as they launched into ‘Won’t Leave You Alone’ followed by another new song ‘Get Loose’, which saw O’Reilly enthusiastically trying his hand at the drums. Following this things began to slow down as the frontman swapped his newfound drumset for a piano and made his way through the emotional track ‘Warm’ before bouncing back into action with the energetic ‘Addicted to Progress’. The title track of their third album ‘Closer to You’ was a huge crowd pleaser but not so much so as ‘Heroes or Ghosts’ which was sung half in Irish, half in English, a specialty of O’Reillys. One final guitar change and a quick round of thank you’s ensued before the “last” song of the night ‘All The Luck In The World’, which was accompanied by a barrage of flashing lights and the explosion of a number of smoke canons as the band left the stage.
Following a chant of ‘one more tune’ the crowd erupted as the band made their way back to the stage with O’Reilly taking his place at the piano for ‘All The Others’ and ‘The Long Way’. Heartfelt thank you’s followed before ‘Mark My Words’ was accompanied by a shower of sparklers raining down on the stage. ‘This was so special, thank you guys so much we won’t forget it’ expressed O’Reilly before an emotional performance of ‘Someone Else’s Hands’. One more brief stage break before the band returned for their last encore and final song of the night, a cover of Mic Christopher’s ‘Heyday’. As The Coronas came together to take their bows an explosion of fireworks erupted over Kilmainham signalling the end of an extraordinary night, one neither the band nor the audience will forget for a long time.