- Live Review
- 07 Sep 23
The London-born singer-songwriter delivered an emotionally resonant show complete with her signature soulful indie pop.
The atmosphere was lively inside the historical 3Olympia Theatre prior to Arlo Parks and company arriving onstage. The singer-songwriter has been churning out some pretty massive successes in the past few years, releasing two albums: her Mercury Prize-winning 2021 debut Collapsed In Sunbeams propelled her into the midst of the indie-pop world, and the deeply personal My Soft Machine released this past May.
In the very first show of her very first headline tour, there’s a certain amount of forgiveness that Parks could have required, as she felt out the outlines of working through the sharper edges of the show. But Parks was exultant, connecting incredibly quickly with the crowds as the show morphed into what felt like a massive group therapy session. If therapy involved some of the most decadent indie-pop of the last few years, of course.
She began with the brutally introspective song ‘Bruiseless’, fittingly also the opening track on My Soft Machine. Her close-cropped unnaturally red hair and stylishly baggy black outfit were striking, especially when accompanied by her soft unique voice. She roamed around the stage as though she was trying to map it, clearly trying to connect with every last person in the room.
The show was not overly theatrical, which smartly left the focus on the emotionally resonant music Parks is known for. The gap between performer and audience quickly dwindled down to nothing, as she continuously interacted with folks in the crowd, even jumping down into it at one point which was received with great excitement.
Her band was a highlight. All members were as talented as they were enthusiastic and endearingly danced along to the music as much as the audience was. Some songs, like the popular ‘Eugene’ and ‘Too Good’, had additional arrangements that gave the band room for some solos, an addition that gave the songs an extra bit of oomph.
In what quickly became a pattern, Parks introduced each song with a small, personal story about what the song is about and what it means to her. She described songwriting as her emotional outlet, something that she does whenever she feels upset. She presented her heart on a platter for the 3Olympia Theatre to see, encouraging the audience to present theirs right back.
‘I’m Sorry’ was a personal highlight, its slow, hypnotic soundscape meshing deliciously with the room’s acoustics. “I’m sorry/It’s really just hard to trust anyone,” she sang, with reverberating production on her voice over a constant, comfortingly steady beat. The show ended with the catchy, energetic ‘Softly’ as an encore, the audience shouting the lyrics with Parks as they grooved along.
Arlo Parks is undoubtedly one of the most promising names in the indie pop genre, a fact that was absolutely nailed home to every person who attended this lovely Dublin show. Parks clearly has a great tour to look forward to over the next few weeks, her unique blend of vulnerability and charisma a solid formula for success.
- Live Review
- 11 Sep 23