I am standing in the cloakroom queue when suddenly the building is filled with the folky sound of Amber Run. Purely from the beats that were pulsating through Brixton Academy, I knew that they were putting on a show that was not to be missed. I was frustrated at myself for making the rookie mistake of not listening to them before I came. Amber Run have a sound similar to Mumford & Sons and left me wanting more.
Up next was James Bay (not to be confused with James May of Top Gear). After seeing him support Tom Odell back in February, I fell in love with his simplistic sound (and his hair). Having now seen him twice, I am surprised at how different the two performances were. Previously his performance consisted of him and a guitar, however this time he played with a full band, adding extra layers to his music and making the performance even more heavenly than the last time. I was particularly impressed with the backing singer who managed to play the guitar, sing and play the keyboard all at the same time, he’s either part octopus or seriously talented. Bay played songs from ‘The dark of the morning EP’ as well as unreleased songs. In terms of sound, James Bay is definitely one of my favourite support act and I hope to see him again in the near future, with or without his band.
After waiting for what felt like hours, Kodaline bounded on stage, full of Irish charm. Opening with ‘After the Fall’ the roar of the crowd was unbearable. Being part of this crowd was special. They didn’t mosh or jump (obviously) but everyone there felt the same connection, with other members of the crowd and with Kodaline. This wasn’t just a gig, it was an experience, everyone sang in unison, everyone swayed in unison, it was perfect. More importantly, the band got involved too, inspiring applause at every moment possible. One of the highlights for me was ‘High Hopes’ when the crowd were at their loudest and sang over the band all the way through. Another favourite was ‘Lose your mind’. This is a song that I didn’t appreciate half as much as I should’ve before I heard it live. It’s trippy, psychedelic riffs and vocals are very different to anything else Kodaline have released. I think this is why I loved it so much, it broke down the set perfectly and sounded so unbelievably fresh. During their penultimate song ‘The Answer’, Steve asked everyone to get out their phones and light up Brixton Academy. Usually this kind of thing cringes me out, however it was a very pleasant addition to the night. My final highlight has to be their final song, ‘All I want’ which was heart wrenchingly good and the response from the crowd was astonishing. Ultimately, Kodaline played a flawless performance and for once, I have nothing to complain about. They were charismatic, crowd pleasing and vocally perfect and I am grateful to have been a part of this Irish extravaganza.