LIVE REVIEW: Dermot Kennedy – Fortitude Music Hall

At the start of 2020 I chatted with Dermot Kennedy about the massive Australian tour he was set to do in late April of that year. Sadly as we would later find out, that wasn’t meant to be. With the world facing a global pandemic, touring was put on pause and the continuous rescheduling of dates became the new normal. But now with the world opening up these shows are finally able to resume, and quite frankly they are bigger than they were ever going to be. 

Kicking off the tour in Brisbane with a sold out show at Fortitude Music Hall, there was an eager anticipation to the show he was going to deliver, and he didn’t disappoint one bit. Dermot Kennedy is one of those rare performers who leaves you feeling flawed after witnessing them live. There are no production quirks throughout the 75 minute show; It’s just him and his live band, and he captivates you purely by his musicianship and his strong vocals. Just standing at the mic stand on his elevated podium, he delivered song after song and left everyone spellbound. 

With the stage soaked in blue LED lights, he walked out onto the stage to a massive roar from the excited crowd for the opening trio of songs ‘Lost’, ‘Power Over Me’, and ‘All My Friends’. “How’s it going? It’s been a while Brisbane. We haven’t done a show in a while, and it’s left me in a place where I don’t know what to say in-between songs” he admitted as he said hello to the loud audience who were passionately singing along to every song. 

The setlist was compiled of hits and deep cuts from his debut album ‘Without Fear’, as well as early EP highlights that sparked fans’ love affair with the Irish singer-songwriter. ‘An Evening I Will Not Forget’, ‘Outgrown’, ‘For Island Fires And Family’, and ‘Better Days’ were special moments in their own right, but ‘Rome’ was one of the nights pure standout moments. The emotion behind that song is already at an all time high, but then you had a choir of 3000 people singing it with him and it just became something completely else. 

As he began ‘Moments Passed’ he started looping guitar chords and vocal patterns to bring the song’s texture to life by himself. It was his own little Ed Sheeran moment and the crowd was entranced. As he came to the end of the show ‘After Rain’, ‘Outnumbered’ and ‘Without Fear’ made their appearances before he closed out the show with a song he had never performed live before. New single ‘Something To Someone’ is an anthemic pop track that is born to close shows, and even though the song has only been out for 2 weeks it felt appropriate to close with because of its warm singalong refrain. Wrapping up the show with the the crowd voicing they wanted more, he may have not gave them an encore but they were well aware that he truly gave them everything out on that stage. 

Dermot Kennedy Australian Tour 

Tuesday 17 May – The Forum, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*

Wednesday 18 May – The Forum, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*

Thursday 19 May – The Forum, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*

Saturday 21 May – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney *SOLD OUT*

Sunday 22 May – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney