Live Review: The Coronas with the Kin at Red Palace, Washington, DC – 8th March 2011

By on Monday, 14th March 2011 at 2:00 pm

Not including a short and self-described harrowing first attempt at touring Irish bars across North America previously, this current tour the Coronas are on is their first proper one. They stopped by DC’s Red Palace Tuesday night to my great excitement. The band just finished up touring Europe as support for the Script; now it was time for them to pull out all the stops. The mind boggles at the fact that the Coronas are a big deal back home in Ireland, yet they aren’t signed in the UK or America yet. While everyone else has gotten their knickers in a twist over the new Radiohead, Strokes or Arctic Monkeys, I yearn for music I feel that has more heart, and surely songs that sound amazing live. I already had it in my mind the Coronas must put on a good live show if their faithful fans keep selling out the venues they play, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The opening band for the night was the Kin, a pair of brothers from Australia (Isaac and Thorald Koren) augmented by a percussionist they found in the subways of New York City named SHAKEALEG (not making this up). I had read that they were a synth band, so I was prepared for a terrible mismatch like electropop Delphic being paired up with more straightforward rock band the Temper Trap last autumn. Synth band is a lazy description – Isaac Koren plays synths and keys, his brother Thorald plays guitar and this bloke SHAKEALEG plays an anything-but-normal looking drum set-up, sitting literally on top of what I think is a conga drum?

This band shows their versatility between pop, rock and soul. The brothers Koren have beautiful harmonies, showcased perfectly when they jumped down into the crowd and performed two songs acoustically. Both bands that night were good storytellers; the Kin told us a story about ‘Wind Over Southern France’ and how they got invited over by some French people to play that song over in the land of the song’s inspiration. They’ve got a lot of talent and I hope they do well.

The Coronas’ all too short set list was a nice mix of music from 2007’s ‘Heroes and Ghosts’ and 2009’s ‘Tony Was an Ex-Con’. Now, the title of the song and album is related to the aforementioned disturbing experience they had with unwittingly hiring an ex-convict named Tony to drive them around our great continent. Long story short, the truth was stranger than fiction and the band thought it deserved to be immortalised in song. I like the mix of slower ballads (‘Heroes and Ghosts’, ‘Someone Else’s Hands’) and faster, up tempo numbers (‘Listen Dear’, ‘Far From Here’). It was awesome to hear the whole crowd singing along to the song that singer Danny O’Reilly admitted ‘made’ them, ‘San Diego Song’. It also happened to be guitarist Dave McPhillips’s birthday, which was alluded to several times and the audience even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him after they’d all left the stage.

I don’t know what it was about last week, but both live shows I caught had very energetic, almost bordering on mental dancing from their frontmen. Several times I was sure O’Reilly was going to accidentally land in a split position in the middle of the stage. He never stopped moving. And the band seemed really tight, really enjoying playing with each other, reveling in playing a town for the first time and getting a great reception. If the DC show was a good litmus test for the rest of the country, I think the Coronas have a very good chance of breaking America. And beyond.

More photos and set list after the cut.

The Kin Photos:

The Coronas Set List:
Far From Here
Won’t Leave You Alone
Listen Dear
Heroes or Ghosts
What You Think You Know
Dreaming Again (new song)
San Diego Song
Someone Else’s Hands
New song tentatively titled “The Rainbow Song”
Tony Was an Ex-Con
All the Luck in the World
The Talk

The Coronas Photos:

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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