The Coronas | Review
With support from Cry Monster Cry
Ulster Hall, Belfast • 21 December 2017
By Tracey Hanby • Photography: Tremaine Gregg
On one of the busiest shopping days in Belfast, on the final run-up to Christmas, The Coronas brought their Christmas show to town, making parking a real challenge for concert goers.
Ulster Hall is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic venues hosting a wide range of events from live music, orchestras and even bodybuilding exhibitions since their doors opened in 1862. Steeped in culture and history, it in itself is a ‘must see’ destination making the night ahead even more special.
This was probably one of the last concerts of 2017 for me and even more poignant that this was the night of my dad’s first anniversary since his passing. I could not have spent it any other way immersing myself in great Irish music, with support band Cry Monster Cry and the renowned Coronas.
Cry Monster Cry are a Dublin band, I first featured on 100% Irish in 2015. Two brothers Richie and Jamie Martin gave a solid crystal clear performance, with melodic harmonies throughout. I loved the mix of Mandolin and banjo too. At times, they reminded me of a cross between Mumford and Sons and Irish band Hudson Taylor. They have had a very busy year of touring and had initially thought they were finished; that was until they got a call from The Coronas asking them to do support for them. Who would say no to that opportunity?
They met me after their performance and told me: “It was a really enjoyable set. The crowd were very welcoming making it even more enjoyable to play. We’ve played many different venues of different sizes but that was definitely one to check off our list of experiences. We have a new album due out in 2018 and can’t wait to announce our tour dates soon.”
Having seen The Coronas live twice before in very different venues, I wasn’t quite sure how this venue would compare, to be honest. They played Marley Park, Dublin in 2011, when I went to see another much loved Irish band Royseven; who were instrumental in my own music career and are still friends of mine to this day. The Coronas totally captivated a full super sized circus tent that day, to a swaying and singing audience, with all their chart-topping hits. The next time I saw them was at an intimate gig, in the Spirit Store two years ago, interviewing them ahead of their show. It was a preview type piece of their stadium set for their upcoming show in the3Arena. You felt part of the gig, as it was very up-close and personal, involving you throughout. I brought my then eight year old daughter, who hasn’t stopped talking about that gig since. That’s how powerful live music is; it can mould who you become. It’s a very important part of children’s lives and maybe one day they too will be the music makers for the next generation to come.
The band is made up of seasoned multi-instrumental musicians of Conor Egan, Graham Knox (affectionately known as Knoxie) Dave McPhillips and Danny O’Reilly. It’s funny to think I even played with Danny as a child when we visited his next-door neighbours and somehow ended up in their garden. But it is no surprise really that Danny went this direction with an amazing songstress mother, Mary Black. It must also be acknowledged that his sister Roisin O and cousin Aoife Scott are equally as talented. It’s in their musical genes.
They opened the show with a dramatic musical intro complimented by a fantastic light display. Much credit must be given to their light technician for truly enhancing the stage production throughout. It’s the first concert that I can truly say lights are an important component of a performance – if it is done right.
Also, the swift work of the guitar technician meant that The Coronas were able to play as many of their hits as possible with a total of 20 songs over two hours, including new music ‘Real Feel’, ‘We Couldn’t Fake It’ and ‘Give Me a Minute’ from their new album Trust the Wire; all of which have charted strongly throughout 2017 on the 100% Irish chart show. Old songs were also sung proudly as they celebrated 10 years since the release of their first album Heroes & Ghosts. Even the audience asked for ‘Heroes & Ghosts’ to be sung in Irish. Danny mentioned playing to a tiny crowd in Auntie Annie’s at the start of their career, making this show a very humbling experience for the band playing to a sold out Ulster Hall.
This band gave their stadium sound to an audience who gave back a stadium response by singing their lyrics back leaving the enigmatic frontman to thank the audience frequently for a special night. He also must be credited for his movement on stage and continuous eye contact with everyone there. Introducing members of the band and acknowledging their talent. Is it any wonder that they continue to produce music of this standard. Their live performances are always note perfect. I can highly recommend their upcoming show 21 July 2018 in the 3Arena in Dublin which will be a monster show.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank Anna Wherrett and Tremaine Gregg for all their hard work bringing you great content for CultureHUB NI and also would like to wish all our online and print readers a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Written by: Tracey Hanby Music Promoter Gigs Ireland and Dundalk FM broadcaster 100% Irish and ‘Gigs Ireland presents The Takeover
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Gigs Irelands previous interview with The Coronas https://youtu.be/dGo5HPzeL3I