Is it weird to be proud of a band that you have no personal connection to? I mean, most of us will have friends who are in bands, or friends who are trying to make it in music, and it is perfectly understandable to say that you are proud of their achievements, but a band who you’ve only ever met randomly at signings or after gigs? Is that weird, or is there something completely natural about being proud of people who have given you moments of joy at different points through your life? Regardless of the answer, it was impossible to distance myself from the pride I felt as Delorentos graced the hallowed stage of the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on Saturday, 10 November 2018.
It’s been a long road for the Dublin four-piece to get to this point, but with a stunning discography of five critically acclaimed studio albums behind them and a string of excellent singles, it seemed like just a matter of time before they would find themselves gracing such a stage as the headline act. What would follow would be one of the gigs of the year.
Before we talk about the main attraction, credit must also go to the support act on the night, the Cork outfit True Tides. I had the good fortune of seeing the band perform in Cork back in 2016 as MKAI and it is clear that they have gone from strength to strength since as they demonstrated a tightness of playing and an excellent repertoire of songs, any of which could be a radio single. They took to the stage with an enthusiasm and an energy that was infectious, and successfully riled up the crowd for what was to follow.
But this night was about one thing, and one thing only, Delorentos. From the moment the band emerged out on stage to perform the opener Eagle Eye from their recent album True Surrender it was clear that this was going to be a special night. It was obvious that this was a Delorentos crowd and the sold out Olympia Theatre felt like it was going to explode throughout the night as the band barrelled through a set list of classic tracks and more recent singles, every chord cheered on by those in attendance. Songs like Eustace Street, Show Me Love, and Everybody Else Gets Wet were screamed back with enthusiasm and warmth by the sold out venue and it was clear that the band were often overwhelmed by the response they were getting. I was not the only one feeling proud.
For another band, the jump in venue size might have seemed daunting but Delorentos could not have seemed more at home, as their tight and experienced sound filled the room and carried the crowd along for a delightful night of music. This is a band who were made for these kinds of shows as members Kieran McGuinness, Ró Yourrell, Ross McCormack, and Níal Conlon demonstrated all the nuance and confidence that comes from ten years on the road playing to crowds of this size.
Impressively throughout the show, Delorentos managed to create an atmosphere that felt like a sing-song amongst friends, as the vast Olympia seemed to shrink to create an intimate and warm experience for all present. An example of this came in the form of a truly nice moment just before the encore when, as the band departed the stage after playing their 2014 single, Forget The Numbers, the crowd started chanting back the chorus of the song rather than the usual “Olé Olé Olé”, that is found at most Irish gigs, as they waited for the band to reemerge. This thunderous chant caused the band to come back on stage early to soak in the crowd and it was this moment that bassist Níal Conlon started to riff over the chant of the crowd, joined shortly by the rest of the band as crowd and performers were suddenly working as one. It was one of those moments that make live music so wonderful and seemed like a beautiful vindication for all the work that the band have put in to get to this point. “You’re all part of Delorentos now!” exclaimed Conlon, and on a night like this there was nothing any of us wanted more.