Concert Review: Gavin James and Kodaline

April 15, 2015: Saint Andrew’s Hall, Detroit

It’s been a busy week which means while I’ve gotten a chance to listen to Kodaline’s new album, Coming Up For Air, I haven’t been able to really listen to it. Granted, it came out the day before I saw their show which means I didn’t have much time, but I was still happening I could pick up some of the lyrics before seeing them live. Now, however, I’m really happy that I had to wait.

There was no opener listed on the tickets so I knew nothing about Gavin James going into the show. It was clear when he took the stage that Kodaline wasn’t the only draw of the night. There was one group of ladies up on the balcony that seemed especially excited to get to hear, as Kodaline’s lead singer Steve Garrigan labeled him, the most Irish guy you’ll ever meet. James took the stage with just his acoustic guitar, proving in seconds that that’s all he needed to dazzle the crowd that night.

As if Gavin James’ musical talent wasn’t enough, he further captured the love of the crowd in Saint Andrew’s Hall with his sense of humor and overall charismatic nature. Typically a crowd never completely quiets down for an opener (and even sometimes the headliner), but the murmurs of the crowd went down to almost nothing as James went through his acoustic set. As the opening show of the tour, we were the first to hear his new track, “Remember Me”. James doesn’t have a proper album out yet, just a live album, that is pretty great by the way, so I’m hoping that new music means a full length LP soon. James finished out his set by dropping into the crowd to play his last track, “Two Hearts”. No microphones, just James’ powerful voice filling the entirety of Saint Andrew’s Hall. It was a short set but a great introduction to a new favorite artist of mine.

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long for Kodaline to take the stage. The boys kicked off their set with a track off their new album, “Ready” followed by “Love Like This” off of their first album. The high energy tracks were a great way to start the night off and get the crowd up and moving. The Irish foursome does a very good job at keeping things moving throughout their entire set, even when they slow things down. Their live show featured some great lighting effects that beg to be featured in a larger venue. And judging from the reaction of the crowd that night, it probably won’t be long before Kodaline is playing the big venues. The guys did a good job of balancing new and old songs which definitely made the fans happy. Speaking of fans, I was very surprised to find the venue packed with people of all ages. I assumed that once again my cousin Jen and I would be among the oldest there but that just wasn’t the case. The older fans seemed just as pumped as the young ones, singing and dancing along for the entire night.

The show seemed to fly by and before I knew it it was time for the encore. The guys saved their most famous song, “All I Want”, for last, bringing Gavin James back on stage to help them out. I don’t think there was one person in the crowd that wasn’t singing along. I still haven’t listened to Coming Up for Air properly but I know that when I do I’ll probably enjoy it a lot more than I would had after hearing many of the tracks performed live.