In an era where music is so easily bought and discarded, and consumers have such a short attention span, it’s important to remember that The Coronas have three double-platinum records under their belt, have been on the undercard of Timberlake and McCartney gigs and usually sell out everywhere they play.
Tonight was no different and a long way from their first Belfast gig in The Limelight, in the early 2000s when only 25 people turned out.
There was a definite sense of anticipation to tonight’s show and after some technical issues with the strobe lighting, it was game on.
Front man O’Reilly took every possible opportunity to get the crowd onside but equally they were willing participants. The son of Mary Black has all the talent you’d expect and a wonderful confidence that allows him to truly engage with his audience and tonight Belfast was treated to some serious musicianship and singing of the highest order.
With some fairly obvious influences in parts – not least from fellow Dubliners, U2 and in particular the Edge, it might be easy to refuse The Coronas the respect they deserve, but they have their own distinctive sound – well-crafted songs, simple, tight, controlled and infectious pop.
They play with real efficiency, nothing extravagant. Neither lengthy guitar solos nor over indulgent bass runs. Just a band that happens to be exceptionally good at what they do. With a great front man.
Here is a man who is as confident in charge of an electric or acoustic guitar as he is behind the piano and it wasn’t until after the hour that the rest of the band started to join in the fun, with Graham Knox on the bass, Dave McPhillips on lead guitar and Conor Egan on drums.
The Coronas are worthy of their triple double-platinum status and the crowd was ever willing to take on singing duties for a delighted O’Reilly as the band passed through a back catalogue which included ‘How It Goes’, ‘The Blind Will Lead The Blind’, ‘Make It Happen’, ‘My Fault’, Just Like That and the wonderful ‘The Lakes Of Ponchartrain’.
Giant balloons, smoke bombs, ticker-tape and the occasional “Olé, Olé, Olé” kept the whole thing going in party mode right up to the finale and a little bit of crowdsurfing from O’Reilly, and everyone went home happy.
Their Sunday night appearance at the Ulster Hall was the second Belfast gig for The Coronas in 2015. If tonight’s performance was anything to go by, they could play every weekend and neither crowd nor band would ever get bored.
Photos © Argyll Images