Despite streaming figures running into the billions for Dermot Kennedy, it comes as something of a surprise to find pockets of empty seats around Leeds First Direct Arena tonight. Further to this, and considering the intimate nature of his music, you have to wonder how Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy’s songs will translate this into the cavernous, sound-swallowing arenas he is hitting on this run of dates in support of his stunning new album, Sonder.
Now, two albums into his career, the Irishman showed why he is worthy of headlining arena shows. Songs like “Better Days” and “Something To Someone” have resonated with music consumers around the globe on a personal level and, looking around the arena tonight, there isn’t one demographic that Kennedy hasn’t hit. From couples with their arms wrapped around each other, to young fans to screaming girls, Kennedy has left his mark on all of them.
Any worry that the intimacy of his songs might get lost soon gets blown out of the water as Kennedy almost makes you feel like he’s singing the song to you and you alone. Flanked by huge video screens, all eyes are on the Irishman who performs front and centre with his band content to take a backseat. The use of moody lighting further cranks up the intimacy levels but, make no mistake, this is a big arena show in every aspect despite the personal nature of his songs making this feel like anything but that.
As for the Irish songwriter, he owns the stage treating fans to an eighteen-song set culled from both of his albums including a good portion of the “Sonder” album including all the smash hits. Delivering a captivating, mesmerising show, Dermot Kennedy showed tonight why he has become a major force in British pop as eleven thousand fans get an evening they won’t forget.
Later this Summer the Irishman ups the ante again as he takes to the road again for a run of outdoor shows. On the evidence of these shows, it’s hard to expect anything other than a truly magical night.
You can find further dates and tickets here
Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest