I’ve never seen anyone get engaged before. Snapshots all over Instagram and Facebook yes, but seeing someone get down on one knee and pop the question? Nope. Not until last week anyway, when a young couple graced the stage for all of 40 seconds and he put a ring on it at a Kodaline gig. 6,000 other people also witnessed that moment – good job she said yes right?
I had also never been in the so-called VIP area of a gig before. Does VIP stand for very immaculate portaloos? I was impressed with those – toilet roll for days, hand sanitizer, a little mirror and even a hook for your bag. They’re the perfect solution for people who get claustrophobic at gigs, wannabe hacks balancing a notebook and a pint, or people who want to skip the queue for the loo.
On 23 August, at the Custom House Square festival, Lewis Capaldi played his first Belfast gig. No big entrance, he just walked on stage in a yellow hoodie and coat, opened his set with ‘Bruises’, and the tone for the evening. You’re heartbroken Lewis, we know! We feel ya buddy and we’re right there with you in all kinds of ways.
“If you don’t like chubby guys singing sad songs you’re not going to enjoy this,” he told the crowd. His self-deprecating sense of humour makes me laugh, but what really endears me to Lewis Capaldi is the amount of times he says “fucking” during the set. The massive Bat-signal lights in the backdrop? “We just bought the lights – they just go off and on. Far too fucking expensive.”
How’s the gig going so far? “This is going ok, it’s hard to fucking tell. If you thought those were depressing you couldn’t fucking write the lyrics.”
He has a voice that has that kind of serrated, falling apart quality, like someone has really ripped out his heart and hidden the Strepsils – so different from his everyday, lilting Glaswegian brogue. As he finishes his set with ‘Something in the Water’, the lights change colour and the sun settles in for the night.
When Kodaline take to the stage, it’s teaming with rain but the audience pretty much DGAF about that at this stage. The band get a massive welcome, and from the get go it’s lights, smoke, sound, the works. With a 1,2,3,4 they blast into ‘Love Like This’, and the hour long sing along from the audience begins.
Kodaline do sad, slow but overall uplifting music pretty well, with many of their songs falling into what I call the “soundtrack” genre. That’s songs you’ll hear edited over tearful, hopeful montage scenes in The X Factor or played during tense moments in a drama series like Riverdale. The part 2 video for “All I want” where the dog goes missing gets me everytime, and they saved it for their final song. The whole crowd was singing and swaying along, £5 pints of Tennent’s raised in the air, drunk on radio rock and overpriced lager. Cheers to that.