Opening the show, and offering an upbeat and quirky prelude to the main act of the night, were up-and-coming bands White Chalk – a beautifully arranged seven-piece group playing in the UK for the very first time – and The Mispers, a more electronic, alternative group showcasing their unusual combination of both synthesisers, a violin, and guitars. Both groups kept the crowd entertained, whether it was through the enthusiastic guitar playing of Conor Quinn, frontman of White Chalk, or the rather hilarious dance moves of Jack Balfour Scott, leading The Mispers.
Awaiting the entrance of the main act of the night, I took a moment during the 30-minute changeover to take in the atmosphere of Nottingham’s most famous Wednesday-night haunt. Being a sold out gig, the entire room was packed. From my position, nestled near to centre stage in the third row, I could see an ocean of heads behind me, and the silhouettes of as many people as possible squeezed onto the balcony and down the stairs in between. The crowd themselves, from what I could immediately observe, were an eclectic mix of teenagers, students, middle aged women standing militantly at the barrier, couples, families – all testament to Kodaline’s appeal.
The house lights soon going down for the final time that evening, and the stage lights arising, the evening’s group we had all paid for took their positions; Irish born-and-bred foursome, Kodaline. Playing a fabulous 90 minute set with songs from both their first album, “In a Perfect World”, and their hit new album, “Coming Up For Air”, which hit our shelves last month, the group kept the crowd captivated with energetic anthems such as ‘Ready’, and mandolin-driven classic ‘Love Like This’, right until they closed with soulful ballad ‘All I Want.’ Not a song went by where the dedicated audience weren’t singing along with as much zest as they could muster.
Frontman Steve Garrigan’s powerful vocals soared through the venue, blending perfectly with the harmonies provided by the rest of the group, and visually aided by colourful lighting, silhouetting, and effective use of a smoke machine. Slower songs such as ‘High Hopes’, ‘Honest’ and ‘The One’ (in which the band invited the whole audience to hold their phones in the air and shine their flashlights in order to emphasise the song’s romanticism) were enriched by Garrigan’s remarkable ability to express emotion through song.Contrastingly, the fast, upbeat and lively hits such as ‘Coming Alive’ were accompanied by encouragement from the band for the crowd to ‘go wild!’ After what I can certainly conclude to be one of the most exhilarating gigs I’ve ever attended. I’d love to go again, and would more than encourage anyone else to do so and to check out their albums online!
By Celia-Jayne Matthews