LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: The Coronas @ Great Scott 11.08.17
Photo: The Coronas perform a sold out show at Boston’s Great Scott on Wednesday night. (John Hutchings/New England Sounds)
If you’re at all familiar with the culture of Boston, MA you’re probably well aware that the city has a special connection with the country of Ireland. A 2013 study in Forbes magazine listed 20% of Boston residents with Irish bloodlines, by far the largest number in the US. So, it stands to reason that a band who is popular in Ireland would also be pretty popular in Boston. There’s even historical evidence. In 1980 a rising Irish band called U2 broke out in the US due large in part to a now legendary gig at the then intimate Paradise Rock Club and would eventually go on to become one of the most successful rock bands in history.
On Wednesday night in Boston, history would repeat itself, as a popular Irish band called The Coronas came to town to perform at Boston’s intimate Great Scott, a venue with a capacity a little over 200. Back in Ireland, The Coronas are genuine tabloid celebrities. This summer they played a gig to over 15,000 people at Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Ireland’s capital and in September they released their 5th studio album, which immediately went #1 in Ireland. The band is so popular at home, that band members’ relationships are regularly covered in the celebrity news section of the country’s largest newspaper, the Irish Independent. Even drummer Conor Egan’s wedding was national celebrity news in Ireland over the summer.
The Coronas have yet to catch on at a similar level here in the US, but they still have a significant US fan base. Wednesday’s show was their first in Boston in 5 years and old out a few weeks in advance. As fans filled in, Boston’s Great Scott transformed into and honest to god authentic Irish pub on a Saturday night. The beer was flowing, fans were singing along arm in arm, even multiple chants of “Ole” broke out in the bar. The only thing missing was a soccer match on the TV’s above the bar.
When The Coronas went into their set, you could feel the energy in the room, as nearly everyone in the 200+ crowd gleefully sang along to both Coronas older material and material from their recently released album “Trust the Wire.” About halfway through their set, frontman Danny O’Reilly entered the crowd armed with only his acoustic guitar and no microphone to perform the song “Heroes or Ghosts” which became a massive singalong that could be heard outside the venue’s walls. At no point during The Coronas’ 17 song set did the energy diminish, it was as if every person in the room was seeing their favorite band for the first time, that level of excitement and intensity.
Boston was the band’s first stop on the US Leg of their tour, several of the upcoming dates in major markets such as Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have already sold out. Unlike U2 in 1980 The Coronas are not a new band, they’ve been together since 2003, but their most recent record is their first to make waves in the US. At home it was their first album to go #1 Ireland. Another Irish band who’s first #1 was album number 5? Yup, you guessed it, U2.
Only time will tell if The Coronas can even come close to reaching international levels of success like U2 did, obviously U2 is a once in a generation kind of band. But, 5 albums into their career, this Irish band is currently standing in nearly the exact same territory as their 80’s predecessors.
Photos: The Coronas @ Great Scott 11.08.17: