Thursday night at Irving Plaza and as the sold out crowd starts to make its way in to the venue, Dermot Kennedy’s name is the buzzword. At first, the young Dubliner made a small splash in the ocean, but over a very short period of time that ripple became a tidal wave and he seems to be unstoppable. Selling out all over Europe, Dermot now embarks on his first full nationwide US tour and the entire tour has already sold out. There were a few eager fans in front hoping for a spare ticket but this was a hot ticket and anyone who was fortunate enough to get their hands on one was sure to be jostling for front and center before the show started.
Opening the night was Queens-based Janelle Kroll. Kroll has been around the scene for a number of years and released her EP, Pretty Lie to Me, in 2017. Kroll is a self-confessed tour virgin and this run with Dermot will be an incredible platform to showcase her songwriting skills. The songs themselves have a dream pop vibe going on and she gave a flawless performance in front of an already packed room. Highlight of her set was “24 Hrs.”
Dermot Kennedy made his arrival and couldn’t get a word in edgeways with the endless warm welcome from the NYC crowd. Joined by his three-piece backing band, Dermot kicked off with a fan favorite, “An Evening I Will Not Forget.” It became clear pretty quickly that every song on the set list was a fan favorite, and he rarely sang alone or without some assistance from the eager crowd. “I remember when her heart broke over stubborn shit, That’s no way to be living kid, The angel of death is ruthless,” Kennedy sang through gritted teeth. He has made it here and now he is sharing the exact reason why. These are songs of love lost, new love, hope, and remembrance. Kennedy isn’t just singing these songs to you; he’s so articulate that he’s not only helping you to understand his story, but also to unravel your own.
“What’s important is this evening I will not forget, Purple, blue, orange, red. These colors of feeling, give me love, I’ll put my heart in it, think about it all the time, The lights went out, you were fine, You kinda struggle not to shine.”
Kennedy’s debut EP, Doves & Ravens, got this young man’s career off the ground, and fast. Mixing R&B percussion with his hip-hop vocal style, Kennedy has paved the way for his perfectly executed rise to the top. Drawn to his raw honesty and ability to engage, fans have flocked to his poetry. Further down the set was “Boston” from the EP, a song that Kennedy explains came from his realization that a “normal job” wasn’t for him. A beautiful ode to summer, love and hope.
The highlight of the night came with “Moments Passed.” A song about taking a chance and hoping to hear what you need to hear. It’s a heartbreaking fight from start to finish and Kennedy left it all on the stage. “I found a moment to be brave, so I let her know, and she said, “How could I love you back, you who dropped your dreams in the gutter.” A jaw dropping performance which lit up the room and brought the house down.
The tour continues and stops in Boston, Nashville, Denver, San Fran and many many more places over the next few weeks, keeping Dermot and his band very busy. Every date is officially sold out, but there may be some day-of tickets released so contact the venues and cross your fingers.
Article: Anthony Mulcahy