- Live Review
- 23 May 22
Having performed for fans previously at Dublin's Vicar Street and the National Stadium a number of years ago, dodie's fanbase in Ireland remain heartwarmingly dedicated to the English singer-songwriter and YouTuber.
Returning this week to play The Helix, dodie concertgoers have packed out the DCU venue with plenty of pride flags in tow. Kicking off with support from English 21-year-old Sody, real name Sophie Dyson; the freshly independent artist gets the crowd amped with rousing pop anthems and vulnerable ballads. 'Bitch (I Said It)' was a hilarious highlight given how many audience members were under 18...
Sporting green for the occasion, the 'fools (can't help falling in love)' singer had her male backing band in mesh tops while she threw on a pink cowboy hat for the finale. While the crowd waited for the main act to hit the stage, the crowd were cheering each other's rainbow flags, while a Union Jack got a predictable but good-natured boo. Even the security guards got involved in the fun, with the audience predominantly made up of teens and 20-somethings with dyed hair and colourful outfits.
When the time arrived for dodie to hit the stage, the room was shrouded in darkness while her band assembled to start the chords of 'Air So Sweet'. Fans quickly spotted hometown hero Orla Gartland on stage, playing guitar for her friend. Chants of 'Orla, Orla, Orla' rang out for the Woman on the Internet producer/singer-songwriter, but the spotlight was just as bright for dodie.
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The star of the night began their career uploading original songs and covers to YouTube, gaining over 2 million subscribers, and over 404 million views on their main channel. dodie released three independent EPs — Intertwined (2016), You (2017), and Human (2019) before unveiling their first studio album Build a Problem in May 2021.
After the ethereal debut album opener ended, the black curtain dropped and chords of 'Cool Girl' began. “We’re going to delve into feelings tonight,” the 26-year-old musician announced before transitioning into a brief rendition of 'Party Tattoos' and 'I Kissed Someone (It Wasn't You)'.
The lighting was impressive throughout, flickering between sharp spotlights for raw, brutally honest moments with dodie on piano or guitar unaccompanied, and statement lightbulbs hanging down - later becoming illuminated for pivotal moments.
"I kissed someone, it wasn't you/Leaning in like you were supposed to do/This was what I waited for/But it just made me miss you more," dodie (real name Dorothy Clark) crooned. Her effortless vocals never struggled to hit home, flicking between soft and piercing depending on the lyrical mood.
'Guiltless' followed, before 'Human'. The 2019 track featured Tom Walker originally, but dodie's solo take was a strong standout. Herself and five band members performed on string instruments for the entire night, with a violinist and cellist adding a grandiose, ambient element. 'Special Girl' featured Orla Gartland hopping on drums, later getting a kiss planted on her by the woman herself. Much shrieking ensued as a result, of course.
"Let's go through time together," dodie tells the crowd. "I've written a lot of songs over a decade, too many for one show" before jumping into her "sad song mashup" of 'Would You Be So Kind?', '6/10' and 'My Arms Unfolding'. Blue light bathes the stage as soaring harmonies and gentle chords offer dodie's poignant lyrics a bigger platform.
"Let's think about our best mates," the singer announces with a smile before 'Sick of Losing Soulmates' kicks off. There's a certain wholesome energy in the air, buffered by the lovely crowd of earnest, emotional youngsters, couples and parents. Instrumental track '?' leads into the gorgeous album track 'Four Tequilas Down', with dodie on piano.
"It's 5am when you close the door, I don't know who I am anymore," she starts. "And tell me, did you make your eyes blur?/So that in the dark, I'd look like her." It's all about acting "like an idiot in front of a crush". Naturally, it's pretty relatable content all round, we'd say. Her ability to bottle vibrant, deep feelings into sweet, confessional numbers with catchy hooks and clever wordplay is arguably the reason why her fans are so wonderfully adoring.
'Sorry' and 'When' see falling confetti land on the musician as she continues on piano, with sublime lighting choices and a talented backing band elevating her melodies to a higher plane. 'Before the Line' is the only song that really channels dodie's pure, unadulterated "anger" at something that changed her entire world. dodie's rage song is still delicate, until an interpretative dance at the track's peak causes her band to inject rock aspects and shredding prowess.
LGBTQ+ song 'Rainbow', which appears on Build a Problem, understandably goes down a treat. "But to say that I'm a rainbow/To tell me that I'm bright/When I'm so used to feeling wrong/Well, it makes me feel alright," she sings, to beaming faces in the front row. With simple string chords and a soft, bright voice, the words cut through any noise. "Wow, you really are gay," she laughs afterwards. "You're a sick crowd, I love you."
The next track, 'She' was specifically written for girls who love girls, with the stage lights dipping into the colours of the bisexual flag. The Human cut remains one of dodie's most streamed offerings, and for good reason. "Am I allowed to look at her like that? Could it be wrong, when she's just so nice to look at," the words ring out, with female-identifying same-sex couples moving closer together for the moving moment.
dodie, who came out as bisexual six years ago in a YouTube video, expressed how 'She' became a metaphor for her past self who felt trapped in her Epping hometown. It acts as a reminder of how far she has come since the days when she felt ashamed of her queer identity.
"Now for the bangers!" dodie shouts before launching into 'If I'm Being Honest' and "fuckboy anthem" 'Boys Like You'. And bangers they were, with the audience going wild for the clap-back lyrics of the latter number, and follow up Human pop gem 'Monster'. It's one of the nights' highs without a doubt, as her instrumentalists dance along to the
"Has anyone ever written a song about having a threesome with your ex?" she queries, as 'In the Middle' begins. Whether you connect with the overall theme or not, you can't deny the infectious chorus. She concludes her encore with the brilliant 'Hate Myself', thanking her crew as a "family".
As an Orla Gartland track blasts through the Helix, the lights go down once more as everyone mills out of the room before dodie gifts her fans with a bonus track: an acoustic version of 'Would You Be So Kind'. "You're lucky, the US tour didn't get this!" she grins, possessing relentless energy for someone who tours so often.
Spontaneity, warmth and connection to her audience are dodie's bread and butter. Overall, a flawless vocal delivery and authentic vibe allowed the Dublin gig to witness the quirky musicianship that launched her career years ago. An artist constantly on the move on stage, changing instruments in a flash and dancing along to the beat, she keeps us on our toes with every note.
Listen to Build a Problem below.
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