REVIEW: The Coronas at 3 Arena, Dublin
You have to feel a little for The Coronas' Danny O'Reilly. There he stood in front of 14,000 adoring fans, who sang along to all his songs (even the slightly icky power ballads).
And yet it surely weighed on his mind that, despite considerable success at home, internationally the band remain a glorified foot-note. They find themselves inhabiting the stereotype of the group that is huge in Ireland, but can't get arrested elsewhere.
Rendering the underachievement even more acute, you suspect, is the fact that the quartet have come unstuck with a singularly heartfelt album. Assembled as O'Reilly reeled from a shock break-up from TV presenter Laura Whitmore, The Long Way vaulted to number one in Ireland while failing to create the tiniest of splashes overseas.
To this credit, O'Reilly did a good job keeping what must have been a swirl of emotions in check. Accompanied by widescreen guitars and, bizarrely, spumes of flame, All The Others saw the singer matter-of-factly lay his big, bruised heart on a platter – a sentiment doubled down on with Just Like That. What saved the gig from excessive mawkishness was the band's resourcefulness as songwriters. In the dude-in-touch-with-his-feelings tradition of Snow Patrol, The Coronas were very good at marrying weepy pathos with catchy hooks and rollicking wig-outs.
Again, though, here was a whiff of the bittersweet. By any measure, The Coronas are superior to kindred Dubliners Kodaline. Yet their rivals recently entered the UK charts at number four while The Coronas continue to sweat on a kind word from The NME or Zane Lowe. It says something about the fickleness of the music industry – and maybe even about the fundamental unfairness of life.