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An extra push... and you're a star

STEPHEN Garrigan's old school teacher is in the crowd. He seems surprised. Humbled, even. Actually, Garrigan looks genuinely stunned that anyone's showed up to see his band. But the Button Factory is jammed.

Quite how many of Kodaline's supporters are here on the back of the Gary Barlow-approved, Grey's Anatomy-featuring All I Want is unclear. Perhaps there are a few fans of 21 Demands in the house.

Indeed, Garrigan and his boys made it all the way to the 2007 final of RTE's You're A Star. But that was then -- this is now. New name, new direction -- better songs. And they're doing very well. A lot better than anyone could have expected for a group of guys who, despite having been together for six years, have yet to put out an album. That highly-anticipated release will arrive next year.

For now, this 50-minute warm-up for the rest of the Dublin quartet's career is what should lead the way to a happy 2013.

Sure, Garrigan (the frontman) could do with a little loosening up. Someone might even re-assure the talented 20-something that there's no harm in a little cockiness. This is, after all, rock 'n' roll.

Taking all the best bits from 80s-era U2, before adding a lovelorn set of lyrics that could easily have been swiped from under Chris Martin's nose, there's little doubting Kodaline's ambition. Garrigan just requires that extra push. He's got the voice -- now all he needs is a little more presence.


Sometimes, all it takes is a mandolin and a harmonica for Kodaline to make an infectious racket, but it's when they plug themselves in and turn up the guitars that the band begins to leave its mark.

Lose Your Mind isn't so much a set opener as it is a statement of intent; guitarist Mark Prendergast's atmospheric fretwork and drummer Vinny May's thunderous percussion proving the perfect backdrop for Garrigan's beguiling vocal. These guys want the arenas -- the stadiums, even.

On record, All I Want (Kodaline's Snow Patrol moment) is a far better tune when accompanied by its excellent video. Live, however, it's an absolute belter. A few screws need tightening, of course, but the lads have a long way to go. One to keep an eye on. HHHHI