Review: OneRepublic The Academy, Dublin
WITH Chris Martin away tending his llamas and Bono trying to outshine Ban Ki-moon, a vacancy has opened in the earnest rock business.
First to pop his CV in the post is OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. On the final date of a short Irish tour, the 29-year-old Oklahoma native is under the impression he's playing to a sold-out Croke Park rather than to a sweaty (and admittedly rafter-packed) club.
Sitting at his filigree keyboard, eyes clamped shut, he devotes the evening to 'Capital E' emoting. It's as if he's had an out of body experience and become possessed by the spirit of Jeff Buckley. Beyond-catchy anthems such as 'Apologise' and 'All The Right Moves' have turned OneRepublic into a huge singles band.
Up close, however, there is a jarring disconnect between their infectious pop and the five profoundly anonymous dudes moping about on stage.
In particular, tunesmith Tedder suffers from a yawning charisma deficiency. A fine vocalist and a peerless songwriter (he penned 'Bleeding Love' for Leona Lewis and 'Halo' for Beyonce), he nevertheless possesses the star power of a cold kebab.
An attempt to poke fun at the Cork accent (the band were in the 'People's Republic' the night previously) does little to make you warm to him, especially considering his tilt at a Leeside burr comes off like The Simpsons's Groundskeeper Willie.
Fortunately for him, a fair wedge of the audience seems to be from south Dublin and probably has no idea what a Cork accent sounds like either.
The biggest stumbling point, though, is the unrelenting slickness of Tedder's writing.
Coldplay and U2 got to where they are by permitting glimpses of vulnerability to peep through the pomp and earnestness.
Tedder, in contrast, is a songwriting steamroller who wants to flatten you with the sheer force of his talents.
OneRepublic may soon be huge, but it's hard to imagine them ever being anyone's favourite band.