Dermot Kennedy, Jack Vallier: O2 Academy, Liverpool

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Dermot Kennedy (credit – artist’s Facebook)

Dermot Kennedy played to a sold out O2 Academy and Getintothis’ Sarah Pitman was there with the crowds to take it all in.

Despite yet to release his debut album, Dermot Kennedy played to a sold out room full of adoring fans who made it abundantly apparent that his record can’t come soon enough. Liverpool is clearly a city that has taken Dermot into its heart.

The evening started with a selection of sad songs from support act Jack Vallier. Taking to the stage armed with just his songs and a guitar, he played a selection of new songs set to be released on his forthcoming EP, Rebecca. When it came to his final song, Jack said, ‘This song is about my ex, not to name any names but this song is called Rebecca. I hope you enjoy it more than she did.‘ This was the comment that sold this act for us.

When Dermot Kennedy took to the stage he was greeted by the roaring cheers of the sold out crowd, with every move being eliciting further eruptions of shouting and cheering. Dermot brought his distinctive blend of Irish folk, hip hop and pop melodies, fusing acoustic guitar with electric drum rhythms. With vocals better than that of the recorded versions of his song, Dermot brought the grit with the grace.

Performing his EP Doves & Ravens alongside newer songs with which the crowd seemed already familiar. Indeed audience participation threatened to almost drown out Dermot and his band, it was like standing in a thousand-strong choir. Dermot expressed the meanings behind a selection of his songs, for example his song Shelter is about wanting something so badly and when you finally get the thing you wanted it being better than you expected.

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The only issue with the gig was the crowd; yes that most weren’t there or had any interest in the support act but the noise from all the talking was just rude. Fair play to Jack Vallier though because he didn’t let it phase him.

Too often people forget that all big bands were support acts at some point and more often than not those same people who were talking through their support slot will be paying to see their headline shows a few years later.

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