I THINK I'M DREAMING AGAIN
The Coronas @ The Basement Circular Quay, NSW Australia 14/03/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.
Wow, it feels like I’m dreaming…. again, for all I know, I could very well be! I mean, my god, seeing such an addictive dreamy Irish rock band play at such an intimate venue so soon after selling out their previous run of shows only three months ago, surely I must either have all the luck in the world, or be in reality, far from here, not in the real world. These guys with their live shows really do leave you in a dream-state filled with real feels that just won’t leave you alone, with a different ending each time! So….
Let’s make it happen!
This dream is started off on a high, with opening up-beat rockin’ song ‘How This Goes’, followed by dance-provoking Irish-wonder ‘Get Loose’. Lead singer Danny brings the visual energy up to a worthy level of the sound, as much as one can on a tiny stage like this, jiggling and wiggling about like a jolly-wee leprechaun, and keeps the hyped energy sustained like a pro as he says hello and welcomes us in the bridge section of ‘How This Goes’ and again in the intro of ‘Get Loose’. Although I am getting caught up a little with rockin’ out and bustin’ a move to these two favourites of mine, which I somehow manage to still take notes while simultaneously singing and dancing without singing my notes or writing the lyrics, I further multitask by taking notice of the sound mixers well-done job. The lengthy and thorough sound check that I witnessed earlier definitely paid off, as my keen ears don’t detect any faulting sound, and I can clearly hear all the sounds I’m used to hearing on the recorded songs, which makes it easy and pleasant to sing to and get loose to/bust out what I can only imagine is the girliest bum-wiggle!
After Danny discards his tambourine that was used in ‘Get Loose’, and the crowd all wiggle and sing along (mainly me), Danny demonstrates what us Irish do best… talk (hence my job), and gears the crowd up for a few more songs before this show goes live on Facebook for the second half. The first time I saw these guys live in 2015, the bar was set so incredibly high with the accuracy of the performed sound, musical and on-stage energy, musical flow and giant balloons, dazzling light displays and Danny diving into the crowd etc, which isn’t possibly doable in such a small venue. Tonight, the band embraces the intimacy of the venue and use it to bring the casualness even closer to you, with the show being scattered with chatter about song stories and humour between each song, which would normally be detrimental to the flow of energy at a typical larger-scale show.
For the rest of the dream, the band dish out fan favourites like rockin’ power-house ‘Listen Dear’ which gives bassist Knoxy a chance to shine with an attention-grabbing bass line, new feel-good jolly-roger ‘Real Feels’, ‘Closer To You’, ‘Dreaming again’ with a traditional Celtic intro, blues-rock addiction ‘Addicted To Progress’ and breakthrough classic ‘San Diego Song’. For some parts, bassist Knoxy’s energy isn’t matching the rest of the bands dreamy-grooves, but that can be forgiven with how technical his bass-lines are at times like in ‘Listen Dear’ and ‘Addicted To Progress’. Danny keeps on top of the energy however, as he moves from his guitar to the keyboard in songs like ‘The Long Way’ and ‘All The Others’. The casual feel is tightened even more with Danny informing us that it’s Dave’s (lead guitarist) birthday today, and instigates a happy birthday sing-a-long which the crowd fail to stay in-sync to, leading into ‘San Diego Song’, which Danny lets Dave take over as lead vocals as a birthday present in the first verse, giving Dave his chance to shine. This dream takes a more deeper emotive turn with songs like ‘Give Me A Minute’, ‘Someone Else’s Hands’ and the heart-achingly powerful ‘Closer To You’, to the pleading sway of ‘The Long Way’ then lifts straight back up like a dream that you just can’t figure out, with ‘Addicted To Progress’ and ‘Dreaming Again’ which fills the venue with a booming chorus of sing-a-longs to melodic and vocal hooks and cheers. As deep in this dream as the audience clearly is with the energy and positivity blazing around me, the casual setting from the band has seemed to make the audience think it’s perfectly ok to constantly talk which I personally find extremely rude and annoying, like a dog barking next door while you’re trying to sleep.
Now, after a pot-of- gold full of thanks to their audience, and Danny’s energetic excited grooves starting to look like he’s busting to take a massive pee, the band start the final song ‘Mark My Words’ which, hang on, this isn’t the usual pick of grand finale songs, where’s the big last hurrah? After the band leave the stage and the lights come on, I start to awake from this dream a little confused “what about the song the band dropped only this morning ‘Is There Still Time?’, and what about always-played fan favourite ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’?”
Just as I let my guard down and take out my ear-plugs, SURPRISE! Danny gives in to the encore demands and says “ok Sydney we’ll do this one together”. The energy and excitement is exploded as Danny takes turns with the crowd at singing parts of ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’, which he has done at the previous two shows I’ve witnessed, but this time, seems to be involving the audience and feeding off us a little more, taking advantage of the venues intimacy. The rest of the band join Danny on stage for the climax of ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’ and for the next song, the last big hurrah I was expecting, anthemic rock blast ‘Just Like That’. Wow! the energy on stage and off, is peaked dramatically in ‘Just Like That’ even before Danny steps off the stage and sings/plays the guitar in the centre of the audience, lapping up all the positive energy and throwing it right back at the crowd while the band keep the musical energy level elevated, making this a perfect grand finale for any rock show!
As I awaken from this whirlwind of a dream, I’m a little stunned! Getting to witness these Irish legends on the constant rise in such a small casual venue, which let the band really connect with their fans so intimately, was truly a dream come true! I very much look forward to seeing how the band will step up their game when they come back to Australia in November, and play the biggest venues yet for them in the country!