The Button Factory is completely sold out, the stage is set, the lights are down – the time has come for Delorentos to put their much-revered third studio album to the test in a live setting.
Tonight marks the opening night of a national tour in support of Little Sparks – not only an album which is Delorentos’ best work to date, but one of the finest Irish releases in recent memory, a rejuvenated sound heralding a new era for the band who were very nearly a fatal casualty of ‘difficult second album’ syndrome. The manner in which the Dublin foursome let their audience in on Little Sparks gestation was truly unique – the innovative and insightful Magazine EP, embracing an array of new instruments to demo the new material in its raw form on an acoustic tour, the interaction of the pop-up shops – but there are no gimmicks tonight. It’s back to basics with bass, drums, and the dynamic duo of guitar-toting frontmen.
Set opener and album title-track ‘Little Sparks’ cements from the get-go that here we have a band at the top of their game – incredibly tight musicianship plays out the gradual build of the song to perfection as Kieran McGuinness’ hits every note. Straight into ‘Right To Know’, Rónan Yourell taking over on vocals and showing off his impressive range between baritone verses and soaring choruses. “If you didn’t buy the new album you’re probably screwed, cos we’re gonna be playing a lot of it!” is McGuinness’ greeting to the audience. Fine by us. ‘Give It Up Now’ exceeds expectations in its live form, a thriving rock anthem that if you didn’t know better could well have been the handiwork of Springsteen in his heyday, and the charm of indie-pop gem ‘Did We Ever Really Try?’ has in no way grown stale from radio airplay.
The acoustic guitars are brought out mid-set to put album’s more tender moments into the spotlight – the brilliant ‘Petardu’, the enthralling ‘Swimmer’, and the impossibly sweet love-song-in-disguise ‘Waited For You So Long’. There’s plenty in the way of highlights from the Delos’ back-catalogue too, allowing the frenzied audience making their presence felt – they’re in fine voice for the middle 8 of ‘You Say You’ll Never Love Her’, the mosh-pit extends right to the back of the room for ‘S.E.C.R.E.T’, and it’s all-out madness for the high-octane duo of ‘Editorial’ and ‘Waiting’.
Although somewhat surprising, it’s testament to the quality of Little Sparks that after only a month since its release, its two of its tracks that are reserved to close out the encore – the epic ‘Bullet In A Gun’, followed by a powerful rendition of ‘The Stream’. “We’re gonna take these songs as far as they’ll take us – but it all started here tonight!” are the parting words heard through thundering applause as Delorentos make their way stage-left to revel in what was surely one of the best nights work they’ve ever put in. Pure unadulterated Delorentertainment.
Photos by Paulo Gonçalves.