If I know anything about the Irish, it’s that they are born entertainers.
Whether it’s telling a story or singing a song, they seem to possess some sort of magical ability to capture their audience’s attention and just entertain. And if done with a drink in hand, by the story-teller, the listener, or ideally both, it only seems to get better.
So when an Irish mate announced that a band from his hometown was touring Amsterdam, we jumped on board despite never having heard their name before.
Almost 10 years ago a similar thing had happened to me with another Irish band that I had never heard of and I had found myself watching The Frames at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. It turned out to be one of the most epic live shows I have ever experienced and I still talk about it to this day.
Add to that some good shows from The Cranberries, My Bloody Valentine, Ash and of course U2 and maybe with hindsight, I had set my expectations a little too high for the young lads of Kodaline.
What they gave us at a sold out Melkweg main stage was a solid pop-rock experience but probably not one that was as memorable as some of the aforementioned bands. The performance itself was tight but none of the songs really jumped out at me and made me want to go and track them down after the show.
Midway through the set, while one of the band members received some technical assistance from a roadie, the rest of the band drifted into an impromptu version of The Pogues Dirty Old Town, which was fantastic. Sadly the guitarist was back online all too quickly and they jumped back into one of their own numbers after only a couple of minutes.
The real disappointment was not so much the songs or the performance, all of which were solid, it was the general crowd interaction, or lack thereof. What I have come to expect from anyone Irish is some banter – the use of that famous Irish wit and I guess to some extent that entertainment ‘magic’ that they just seem to be able to generate. But the Kodaline boys were pretty tight lipped on this night amd they didn’t do too much to draw us all in.
The highlight of the night probably came at the end, when the band climbed up onto the balcony for the first two songs of their encore. The first song was a cappela cover of Sam Cooke’s Bring it on Home to Me, which I have to admit was a little rough. They then did an acoustic version of their own song Perfect World, which was much better and probably the song of the night.
All in all it was an enjoyable night, but the 14 song / 1 encore performance never really stood a chance up against The Frames 3 hour, 4 encore, ran out of songs so we brought the support band back on and just played along to some of his songs, EPIC performance I had seen in New York.
But then again, not many bands from any country can complete with that?