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The Academy, Dublin
Eamonn Seoige, 21 Sep 2012
Eyebrows were raised when the intimate confines of Abbey St.’s Academy was announced as the venue for an upcoming gig by Danny O’Donoghue and company.
However, with their latest album, simply titled #3, released within days, what better place to road-test some new material?
Despite the elated crowd cheering their every move, there’s a palpable sense of nervous tension onstage. The band kickstart with the opener from their new record ‘Good Ol’ Days’ before launching into ‘We Cry’, complete with Danny busting some rhymes.
The first thing that strikes is that the addition of another guitarist to their live set-up has improved their sound. Current single ‘Hall Of Fame’, an uplifting slice of American radio pop, is played to perfection, backed by 850 or so high-pitched backing vocalists (that would be the audience).
After a nervous opening, Danny gradually comes into his own. At one stage he makes his way to the balcony, belting it out for all he’s worth. The crowd, packed like sardines below, sway and sing along to every soaring verse and chorus. At times the sheer volume of the youthful singalong is almost a match for the band.
‘Science & Faith’ is warmly greeted, but it’s the hand-on-heart romanticism of ‘Before The Worst’ and ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’ that bring the crowd to fever-pitch. Some newbies pepper the set: ‘Give The Love Around’ is well-received, but predictably it’s the omnipresent hits from their previous albums that drive the crowd suitably bonkers.
The anthemic U2-tinged ‘You Won’t Feel A Thing’ brings the regular set to a rapturous conclusion and there’s no let-up with a string of big-hitting encores.
With the crowd now eating out of their collective palms, Danny, Mark and Glen can do no wrong, leading the eager disciples through a triple whammy of major numbers guaranteed to deliver the maximum screech factor. ‘Breakeven’ is followed by ‘If You Could See Me Now’ before they conclude with a euphoric rendition of ‘For The First Time’.