- 21 Oct 22
The Irish artist brought her sophomore album Smiling Like an Idiot to life last night before her hometown crowd.
Halfway through her show beneath the lights of the 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin-born singer-songwriter Sorcha Richardson shared, “My only goal when I started music was to headline the Olympia oneday.”
The very theatre that filled before the singer even set foot on stage last night, humming with the kind of unique anticipation that comes with playing new songs for the first time before a hometown crowd.
Fellow Irish singer-songwriter Sammy Copley warmed up the room as the support for the night. Equipped with nothing but a microphone and an acoustic guitar, he charmed us all with his crooning vocals and thoughtfully strummed lullabies. Songs like ‘To The Bone’ and ‘Elephant’ silenced the room as we looked on in awe, soaking up the simple sweetness of Copley’s musical storytelling.
When Richardson stepped onstage, she was not alone – though the singer is comfortable enough playing solo, evident after a series of intimate acoustic shows this year. But last night she came fully equipped with her close-knit live band, beaming at the sight of her hometown crowd before wordlessly diving into ‘Hard To Fake It.’
“A lot of these songs I’ve never played before,” shared Richardson. The sound was shockingly massive, her band magnifying the indie rock force of her narrative, poetic songwriting.
Big songs, big room. It’s a fact Richardson couldn’t overlook as the opening tracks came to a breathless close. Greeting her audience, the Dublin singer-songwriter shared that her number one career goal has always been to headline the 3Olympia. “So this is a really big deal,” she beamed.
Fresh off the back of her sophomore full-length Smiling Like An Idiot, Richardson delivered the newness of songs like ‘Spotlight Television’ with the sort of confidence one draws from a stunningly crafted album. She brought it back to her first debut with ‘Hard To Fake It,’ which even got her bass player jumping to its catchy rhythm, pulsating through the crowd as purple strobe lights lit up the stage.
It’s no secret that Richardson is an introspective lyricist, a talent that shone through on tracks like ‘Ruin Your Night.’ The version of herself the singer narrates in the track is supposedly unlikeable, as she sung through the hook, “Stirring up a hurricane, I’m gonna ruin your night again.” But onstage, Richardson was impossible to look away from.
The frontwoman allowed herself a talking break to explain the title track of her new album, ‘Smiling Like an Idiot,’ with the characters who inspired it. Retelling a story about a drunken night of dancing with her bassist and close friend Joe Furlong. Richardson introduced the song by praising the people – like the ones beside her onstage – who made her “want to stay in Dublin” upon her return in 2017, and had her…‘Smiling Like An Idiot.’
Her band paused as Richardson stood solo for the beginning of ‘Jackpot,’ stripping the song down to its barest bones. Her voice was rich enough to carry the tune; Furlong joined the singer on the bridge, gripping the crowd with the contrast between his soft vocals and Richardson’s gritty tone.
The ground shook at the opening notes of ‘Archie,’ a coming-of-age crowd favourite. Richardson’s vocals took on a softer, more resonant tone for the nostalgic, pastel anthem, while her guitarist Jake Curran caught everyone’s attention with a soaring, electric guitar solo on the song’s bridge.
“This is an oldie,” said Richardson, introducing her EP hit ‘Petrol Station,’ “but a goodie.” The track allowed the singer to return to some of her folk roots, yet her band still magnified the ever-growing power of her sound. Her vocals were raw yet sweeping, carrying out the graceful melody of the track over hazy electric guitars and background synth.
She worked a proper ballad into the lengthy setlist, pleasing her crowd’s demands for ‘Honey’ over symphonic, heart-tugging keys. “This next one is for anyone with a broken heart,” Richardson announced.
‘Lost,’ with its building wall of melody, is a source of solace for, indeed, anyone experiencing heartbreak. Richardson played the part of a third-party narrator as she sang, “It’s okay to be this way but you don’t have to be forever.”
‘Good Intentions’ brought back the undeniable power of Richardson, with a driving beat and shattering bridge that enforced a sense of hope throughout the theatre. The arpeggiated guitars on ‘Stalemate’ and dense, layered sound reverberated throughout the crowd, whose energy seemed only continuously amplified by the singer as the night drove on.
As we predicted, Smiling Like An Idiot is as dynamic and diverse as its voice, an artist who can put on a stellar show with a live band or with nothing but six strings and her melodic poetry. After a night that paid homage to the old and the brand new – but with the firm confidence of Richardson’s now – the Dublin singer-songwriter seemed reluctant when time came to finally leave the stage, to come down from the clouds.
Sorcha Richardson’s new album Smiling Like An Idiot is out now via Faction Records. Check out more photos from her headline show at Dublin’s 3Olympia Theatre here.