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SNOW PATROL LIVE AT MARLAY PARK, DUBLIN

It goes without saying that at this stage SNOW PATROL are an incredibly polished live act, with the likes of ‘Spitting Games’ and ‘Chocolate’ electrifying the venue early on.

Paul Nolan, 25 Aug 2006



Following a torrential downpour mid-afternoon, the weather outlook was bleak for Snow Patrol’s biggest headline show to date. Thankfully, the rain has stopped by the time your reviewer arrives to catch Republic of Loose and, despite the ever present grey crowds lingering ominously overhead, largely holds off for the rest of the evening.

Mick Pyro and his crew are in absolutely flying form, performing a scintillating set of funk and soul that really lifts the atmosphere and gets the crowd moving. The frontman, tonight modelling a fetching ensemble of white trousers, floral-pattern shirt, pink jacket and shades, is a superlative performer, throwing shapes and working the stage like Odelay-era Beck. They save the best until last, with the dynamite finale of ‘You Know It’ and ‘Hold Up’ bringing their performance to a suitably uproarious conclusion.

By contrast, The Futureheads’ brand of spiky, angular geek-rock leaves me feeling a little cold but, judging by the fervour of the audience reaction, I’m quite clearly in the minority. The furious punk thrash of ‘Return Of The Berserker’, the driving, Clash-like rhythms of ‘Fallout’ and, of course, the heavenly harmonies of their Kate Bush cover, ‘Hounds Of Love’, all elicit a euphoric response. Just to cap things off, Gary Lightbody later describes their set as “one of the most amazing live performances I’ve ever seen.”

And so we come to Snow Patrol themselves. The last time I saw them play was a week before Christmas in 2000, when they supported Ash in the Temple Bar Music Centre. How times have changed. Tim Wheeler and co. would probably struggle at this stage to sell out a venue this big, while Snow Patrol have had the kind of success in America which Ash always seemed on the brink of achieving but never attained.

It goes without saying that at this stage Snow Patrol are an incredibly polished live act, with the likes of ‘Spitting Games’ and ‘Chocolate’ electrifying the venue early on. A surprise highlight is ‘Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking’ from Final Straw. By turns fragile as glass and apocalyptically heavy, the song teeters and swoops, rises and falls in a manner reminiscent of Snow Patrol’s Glasgow mates Mogwai.

Without wishing to be a killjoy, your correspondent is going to play devil’s advocate and suggest that some of the band’s newer output is overly mawkish and, at times, strays dangerously close to Coldplay territory. They’ve already penned the perfect modern hymn to broken relationships in ‘Run’ (which tonight climaxes in a mass-singalong) and, well, say something once, why say it again?

Nevertheless, after a frantic encore, Lightbody thanks the audience for what he says is “the best night of our lives” and tells us we’ll meet again in December. Everybody heads home happy, looking forward to seeing Snow again this Christmas.

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