Arriving just in time to catch the support act ahead of headliners at the Barrowlands Ballroom, Port Isla set the bar high for Kodaline as their world tour kicks off here in Glasgow. With their well crafted harmonies and folk melodies as well as their catchy riffs and walking basslines, the lads from Norwich don’t miss a trick to get the early arriving, sold-out gathering on side.
Having already smashed BBC Introducing and made fans at Glastonbury last year, it's great to see them perform their knock out tracks like ‘Steamroller’ and ‘In The Long Run’ before delivering their performance of the night with ‘Better Love’.
One big applause only becomes another bigger one until the reason everyone turned out finally took to the stage. With Port Isla having lifted everyone’s spirits early, Kodaline were only left with the task of shouting “Glasgow” before breaking out with synth-driven ‘Ready’ from their new album Coming Up For Air.
With Garrigan instrument free for the opener, it’s not long before the mandolin and harmonica are the first instruments to be pulled from his arsenal as they followed on with yester-years hit single ‘Love Like This’. New album highlight ‘Unclear’ does enough to confirm that the new tracks are translating very well to the live setting. The song is underpinned by Vinny May’s recreation of the bodhran sound on drums and with the crowd stepping up in the absence of the choir, the darkened ballroom was soon alight with Garrigan’s minions and their phone torch lights.
Both new and debut album tracks got their lion’s share of the set list with crowd pleaser ‘High Hopes’ raising the roof in the middle of the set once more. Halfway through and already fast becoming a treat to see Kodaline in this comparatively intimate space, there were still a few new songs to come. Carefully slotting them between more debut album favourites, it became quite instructive how the band have developed since then with four of the final five tracks before the encore being taken from Coming Up For Air.
Piano track ‘Love Will Set You Free’ closed the first act of the performance before they re-emerged for their encore to play the notable exclusion ‘Honest’ before turning the lights off after sing-a-long ‘All I Want’. By the end of the night, the crowd had been whipped up into frenzy whether wallowing in melancholia or outdancing and outsinging the Irish quartet.
Despite the ballads, the show could never take a kicking for their absence of big tunes, with Steve Garrigan seemingly being able to play the crowd as well as any of his instruments, Kodaline managed to make everything fit tonight. At moments it was sparse & atmospheric, then chanting and bouncing. Maybe Kodaline had found what they were looking for when starting the tour in Glasgow as drummer Vinny May said “Barrowland in March last year, was such a mental night and a great venue”.