Gig Review: Dermot Kennedy, Radio City Music Hall

Dermot Kennedy Radio City Music Hall

If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while or follow me on social media, then you probably know that I am a huge fan of Dermot Kennedy (and his music). However, every time he announced gigs, I was always moving around and uncertain about where I was moving to – so could never buy tickets for any of his performances.

Rewind back a few months and I had just moved to New York, still in that awkward phase of finding my feet, settling in and making friends when Dermo announces a North American tour.

Since I moved to the US by myself, I thought it was time to woman-up and do something for myself and by myself for a change. I mean, if I can up and move to the other side of the world by myself, surely I can go to a concert by myself.

I’ve always been one of those people that could never go to the cinema by themselves or any large public gatherings/things people do in groups, by myself, yet still considered myself to be incredibly independent. Who was I kidding?

Since I’ve been a huge fan and wanted to see him perform live for so long, here was my chance and I was going to take it. Looking back, when I bought the ticket in September, I should have assumed that I would have friends by the time March came around that I could take to the concert anyway, but here I was on my own.

The back story

So, as I said, I’ve been a huge fan for a long time and had been dying to hear Dermot perform live. Once I bought my ticket, I was ecstatic. Then fast forward one month, and here I was presented with one free ticket to go and see Dermot Kennedy perform in a record store in Brooklyn to 200 people.

This was my time to test out whether I could really attend a gig by myself, and it would be amplified here in such a small setting. I mean, it’s a lot easier to fade into the background among 5,000 people, not 200.

But I went, and it was as amazing as I had hoped. I was so close to the stage, it was so intimate and I got to listen to such a great voice. If you want to read that gig review, you can find it here.

Who, what, where?

Dermot Kennedy is an Irish singer, originally from Dublin. As you can imagine, there were a lot of Irish people at this gig. A lot.

Dermot rose to fame with tracks like Power Over Me, and Outnumbered, both of which you will have heard on the radio.

However, it’s his voice that is the real selling point, not just the Irish charm. His voice and his lyrics. Probably the thing I love most about Dermot Kennedy is his songwriting. It’s deep, meaningful and poetic. He’s a rare kind and I’m so glad that he is celebrated for it.

Dermot Kennedy is what the music industry is lacking these days. There are no more great singer-songwriters that let you into their darkest selves, not any more. His lyrics are amazing, his vocals are amazing and just his performances in general, are amazing.

You can really tell that Dermot is a very deep person as he likes to introduce his music with the reason he wrote the songs. He doesn’t joke about, but instead talks about things that other artists may shy away from. He’s real, very humble and insanely talented.

Dermot Kennedy

The support act

So I may have purposefully skipped the support act as I was already panicking about sitting alone for ten minutes before Dermot Kennedy was due to come on that I couldn’t fathom sitting for an hour and a half like a lemon with no friends.

Stupid, I know, and looking back, I should have just went and not given a crap about what others would think. However, I did happen to hear a lot of the end of the support act’s performance while I waited in line for my $6 Diet Pepsi.

The support act was SYML who you may remember from such hits as Where’s My Love. From what I could hear, he was very, very good.

The gig and verdict

I’ve mentioned above that Dermot is a very humble person. To me, he also comes across as a little awkward, lacking in self-confidence. The staging for the show was just him and his band, and he stood in his little podium for the entire set.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this because all focus should be on his music and his voice. It’s just a little different from what I’m used to seeing in large concert halls such as this. It was simple and effective.

Dermot Kennedy is an amazing artist to see live. Phenomenal, even. His voice is world-class and his debut album Without Fear is one of the best albums I’ve heard in recent years. All of the songs are single-worthy, which is what an album should really be. There isn’t one song that I would skip on his album which is a pretty big deal.

Songs to listen to

Listen to them all. Seriously. But here are five of my personal favourites from Dermo:

  1. Rome
  2. An Evening I Will Not Forget
  3. All My Friends
  4. Dancing Under Red Skies
  5. Lost

I’m already looking forward to all the BRIT awards, Grammy’s and recognition that he will get because he deserves it all.


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