A snapshot into the future of music, dodie and co. prove why you can’t sleep on the new-wave musical titans.

As we approached the venue, I was utterly dumbfounded. Having seen a plethora of artists perform at The LCR during my four-year love affair with the venue – including punk titans Slaves and alternative rock heroes Nothing But Thieves – I had never seen so many people queuing to get into the venue half an hour before doors even opened. In fact, I am going to go one step further. I am almost certain that the venue, historically famous for hosting some of the biggest names in modern musical history – including Coldplay and Ed Sheeran, had never seen a queue as big as there was for dodie half an hour before the evening’s entertainment began.

For those of you who don’t know, dodie is somewhat of a phenomenon. With nearly 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube, dodie’s route to musical stardom is slightly different to most conventional artists. Having coined her craft for years making music in her bedroom using a ukulele, her achievements are very impressive and are proof that by grinding towards a dream, anything is possible.

What makes dodie special, however, is that these numbers are utterly irrelevant as, above all else, she is unbelievably talented. Drawing crowds of adoring fans across the country, this tour should act as a real eye-opener to mainstream media – proving that the power of the internet is unparalleled to any other means or method of getting your voice heard.

As I walked into the venue, 15 minutes after doors had opened, I got a snapshot into the future of live music.

Orla Gartland

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I must confess, as a 21-year-old man with a questionable beard and a passion for alternative American punk music, I am quite different from the general demographic that was in attendance at this gig. However, after seeing the queue for the show only moments prior, I was still stunned by the sheer volume of people who were already inside the venue. The show billed as a 10pm curfew, due to venue commitments, was filled to the rafters by 18.15. With most shows, there are always people at the barrier from the off, with a few pockets of gig-goers gathered around the venue waiting for the main attraction. Historically, the job of opening artists is to warm-up the crowd, aiming to gain some fans by grabbing their attention in the process, but with Orla Gartland’s performance, something was very different.

The room was full as if she was the evening’s headliner. Everyone in attendance (minus, me and a couple of parents nursing a beer at the bar) were singing every lyric back to Orla with a youthful passion that was utterly infectious. If you scrubbed dodie’s name off of the tickets and scribbled down Orla Gartland I wouldn’t have known the difference – the reaction from the audience was fitting of a headliner.

Why am I like this? was the takeaway song from the set. With a chorus that has stuck with me ever since, the track is a great little ditty that has a hook that resonated chorally around the venue. Also another graduate of the YouTube music scene, Orla’s performance had an air of importance surrounding it. The quality of music on offer was second-to-none and the reception was unlike anything that I have ever seen for an opening artist before.

Listen to her music and check out her YouTube videos, get aboard the train before it leaves you behind.

KAWALA

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With the hardest task of the evening, KAWALA took to the stage as the only band on the bill who had not started their musical journey on YouTube directly. Delivering their brand of acoustic, dance-friendly music (yes, you read that right), the band did a wonderful job of grabbing the attention of the room.

Charming the audience with their on-stage wit, the band rattled through a collection of songs from their two EPs D.I.L.Y.D and Counting the Miles, while also throwing in a new track for good measure. The room was electric, dancing and jumping along with the band at their request.

Everyone in attendance was putty in their hands. With this in mind, in a cute, yet, cheek-blushing moment, Daniel McCarthy (guitar, vocals) requested everyone in the room to turn around and wave at his younger brother at the merch stand. Naturally, the adoring audience was quick to oblige and swivelled 180 degrees to grant McCarthy’s request.

There was a little bit of everything on offer with this set, from dance-offs to dainty, heartfelt acoustic ditties, the band left their stamp on an audience that I am sure will have left the venue and began frantically scrambling to find their Twitter and Instagram handles.

Keep your eyes peeled for in detail review and interview with the band – coming soon!

dodie

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Arriving on stage in the cover of darkness, dodie’s entrance was a lot more subdued than I thought it was going to be… at first. She subtly arrived from the back of the stage, until a spotlight broke from for ceiling and she was revealed to the room. Naturally, from here, she was greeted by a chorus of whistles and screams from the adoring audience that had been waiting for hours to see her. The wave of noise that washed the stage felt as if I was watching an artist headline an arena.

Appearing surprisingly calm, dodie softly entered into Arms Unfolding with beautiful aplomb. The room quickly fell silent to observe the delicate delivery of this song. From here, the set saw an eclectic collection of tracks that aptly told the storied nature of dodie’s musical career thus far. Classic tracks such as 6/10 and Sick of Losing Soul Mates were personal highlights that really provided moments of honest emotion in the set. dodie’s timid, yet positive moments of chitter-chatter that came between songs were memorable for me as an observer: her sweet and honest approach, with confidence in her musical ability, is utterly refreshing in a musical sphere that is overwhelmed by arrogance and poor delivery.

The stage set-up and lighting was as beautiful as the performance. Dark and smokey in part, technicoloured in others, there was a setting for every emotion on offer. There was a confidence in her performance as if everyone on stage knew that the product they were producing was the very best it could be. The setlist was tight, and everyone in attendance, even the parents hiding at the back, seemed awash with satisfaction and left with a smile on their face.

There is no limit for what is possible for dodie… this tour is just the beginning. Everyone needs to pay attention to artists like her, as there are plenty of them coming, tooled with talent and adoring fan bases that will shake up the scaffolding of the antiquated music hierarchy. Ready yourself.

4/5 Bytes.

Callum Huthwaite & Megan Foxen
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