Adorned in black with bright ruby-red shoes, and despite this being his first European tour; American solo artist, Patrick Martin, received a tremendous round of applause from the sardine-packed, yet ecstatic, Roundhouse. Despite Martin’s youth and not having yet released a debut LP, his shoes had certainly taken him where he felt most at home: the stage. In spite of his bohemian dress and not looking too dissimilar to Patrick Wolf, one would have expected Martin and his supporting three-piece band to be playing instruments including the piano, and viola. However, Wolf and Martin are the antitheses of each other musically; Martin has a synth-pop sound that has much more in common with Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth.
Playing his debut single “Cinema Love” that had been selected as a “Track of the Week”, Camden quickly engaged with Martin’s serving of instant synth-pop. “Both of you” earned equal audience engagement. “Stranger Nights” had a classic club anthem feel to it earning Martin consistent handclapping and dancing from all tiers of the Roundhouse. Patrick saved his personal favourite song “Wonder Years” till last”. Whilst this was a song saying goodbye to an old life his younger self once lived; “Wonder Years” expressed the most maturity and excavated Martin’s innermost self. With similarities to Take That’s “Great Day” and impressive guitar solos from his female guitarist (who had resembled Gwen Stefani); “Wonder Years” was an appropriate choice for Martin to playout the Roundhouse with. “Miss you More” also pleasantly broke away from the synth-pop formula with pockets of influences from Palace’s “Bitter”.
Before Kodaline approached the stage, the Roundhouse illuminated with spectacular and radiant lighting that centred around three emerald diamonds. The Irish five-piece, who have had three number one albums in their home town, including, their latest, Politics of Living, opened with the first track off this LP: “Follow your Fire”. Taking a similar musical direction to their Irish counterparts, The Script, “Follow your Fire” was an opportunity for Kodaline to demonstrate that they were not afraid to experiment with new production and mixing techniques. “Brand New Day”, from their debut LP, In a Perfect World, reminded the audience of their soft indie sound with seldom added electronic injections. There didn’t appear to be any competition between the production approaches between the two songs; both were equally celebrated and received.
“Ready” and “Honest” from LP number two, Coming up for Air followed, which offered a sound that was the ideal half-way house between Kodaline’s debut and third LP. If there was any doubt that Kodaline’s new material was not as well-received as their 2013 debut, “Brother” which followed, earned Kodaline applause, singing and hand waving on a new level. “Brother” collectively evoked a plethora of emotions and demonstrated that Kodaline’s fans bond with them is deeper and more mature than halcyon memories of their debut efforts. “Head held High”, as well as having an intelligently comical, as well as the melancholy music video was delightfully catchy and instant without raising questions over Kodaline’s musical maturity.
As well as confidently proving that their latest material was as relevant as their classics; Kodaline also took the opportunity to celebrate the songs that made them a household name. Not only did Kodaline play over half of their debut LP; they went back even further playing material from their The High Hopes EP. “The Answer” from this EP had a pleasant guitar ballad opening, encompassing the best of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “We’re Going to Be Friends”. Kodaline proved they could still sing the songs they wrote from the heart and show they still resonated with them as they did back in 2013.
Kodaline’s also played “Raging”, the song they made in collaboration with Kygo. One can clearly see how the electronic influences on this initially well-received release influenced Kodaline’s latest recordings. The sound of “Raging” is undoubtedly worlds apart from “The Answer”, yet the Roundhouse rejoiced the musical pilgrimage Kodaline had taken their sound on. The musical pilgrimage for Kodaline continued as they played new unreleased material including “Wherever you are”.
The Roundhouse set ended with “All I Want” and “High Hopes” from their debut LP. Performing their debut material must have been easier for the Irish five-piece to covey as the songwriting and recording of this material was more heavily embedded in organic folk instruments. Nonetheless, Kodaline also proved that they are not afraid to innovate with synths and electronic sounds and were still able to resonate their hopes and fears to the audience. This innovation evidently earned the band a few modern classics. Based on this Roundhouse performance; the story of Kodaline and their musical experimentation is far from over.