So November was a busy month for gig attendance for me with one gig a week for three weeks!
The National @ the o2
It all kicked off with my favourite band at the moment, The National back for the second time this year and my second time seeing them. I really enjoyed the gig at the Marquee in Cork and for me they will never top that gig in the Olympia on a snowy December night in Dublin. We had seated tickets which I find always lacks a bit of atmosphere but at least the view was good. I loved the lighting and stage set-up and they had a large backing band with both brass and strings that enhanced their large sound and filled the o2. Matt always puts his heart and soul into every performance so much so I was in fear that he might fall off the edge of the stage or burst a vocal cord! There was a great mix of both new and old songs. For the finale, Matt went into the crowd and of course there was the now expected sing-along to ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby’ to end the gig on a high.
Blue October @ The Institute, Birmingham
Blue October are another one of my favourites and their gigs never fail to disappoint. This one was no different – the energy at a Blue October gig is always amazing. The Institute is in the Irish Quarter [how appropriate] on Digbeth High Street – a lovely intimate venue. They are currently touring their seventh studio album Sway. The band were truly on form for this tour and it showed. The set list was brilliant featuring many favourites kicking off with Sway. I also especially loved Fear, Not Broken Anymore and Bleed Out from the new album and also some of my old favourites including Into the Ocean, The Worry List and Italian Radio. We ended the night off in the Kerryman next door with a lock-in listening to the album – a fitting ending to another memorable gig.
The Lumineers @ the o2
The Lumineers are a folk rock band from Denver, Colorado. If you’re thinking the who? then all I have to say to you would be two little words ‘Ho Hey’!
Based on the liking of that one song which was on constant repeat on the radio at the time, I agreed to go to this gig. It just shows how one popular song can sell out the o2. Apparently Dublin was their biggest gig to date. The band are good musicians hopping ably between instruments but they failed to hold my interest. With only one album and ten songs, there was a lot of pauses and a few covers to fill in time. The lead singer, Wesley, who looks a bit like Thor [Chris Hemsworth] was quite bossy telling us to stand up and put away our mobile phones. They also played ‘Ho Hey’ quite early on and there was a good sing-along. They tried to get close to the crowd by playing a short set in the centre of the o2. By the time the band came back on for an encore, we had had enough and left before the end which for me is a rare occurrence. Judging by the screaming adoring fans they won’t miss me at the next one.