One of the things I was so excited to explore in Dublin was the music scene. I really love music, learning about new artists, making mix CD’s, and most of all: going to concerts! I try to spend my money, when I have it, on tickets to shows with friends or hitting up spots in Portland with local artists playing. Before coming to Dublin I looked up all the shows I was hoping to go to, when they were, and how much each ticket would be. I had a very lengthy list and high hopes that I would make it to all the shows that my little heart desired. Unfortunately, time and money got the best of me. Fortunately, I made it to 4 very amazing concerts in 4 totally unique venues!
Ed Sheeran was the first concert I attended while here. It was also my first “solo mission” show where I went by myself. Ed Sheeran is HUGE here in Ireland. Every person who I have talked to really likes his music. The venue for the show was at the O2 Arena. I would say this venue is similar to the Rose Garden/MODA Center in Portland. It was a huge arena and totally packed with people. The opening band was Saint Raymond, a group I had never heard of but really enjoyed! Ed’s concert really blew me away. I had decent seats in the first balcony and could see the whole floor and stange. Ed played a solo show, just a guy and his guitar. He used a really unique technique for recording himself and then playing back the melody or beat with some kind of foot pedal board (musicians maybe help me out with what this is called?). His set was dynamic and energetic. For one guy and one guitar, he brought the house down! This was an amazing first show to attend in Dublin because I felt like I was sharing this experience with a community that really revered and loved this artist. Overall, great vibes for Ed Sheeran!
Jake Bugg was the second concert that I attended with my friend Shannon. His set was at the Olympia Theater. This venue reminded me of the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland, with old, restores architecture and theater style seating. We sat in the front row of the first balcony. We arrived a bit later and missed the opening band, who was called Southern. Jake Bugg’s show blew me away. His music style is so old school, Bob Dylan-esque. Shannon kept commenting that “this is like a real rock show!” and I agreed. At first I didn’t like Jake Bugg’s stage presence, he didn’t seem super engaged but song after song got better and he seemed to feel more comfortable. He brought the house down with his jams. It was great to share this experience with a buddy too, so we could swoon over Jake’s voice!
The next concert I went to was Boy & Bear. This is a band my mom introduced me too since their song had been playing n the Portland radio station KINK. Yes, my mom has pretty good musical taste (there I said it). Shout out to you, Mom! The show took place at Whelan’s which had a pub on once side and a concert venue in the back. This place was tiny, which was great for me since that meant a more intimate show. I would say this venue was like Backspace in Portland. I thought that this show would be pretty mellow and small, but to my surprise it was completely sold out! Standing room only! The opener was The Dancing Years who I immediately fell in love with. The guys in the band were very talented and the songs were very emotional. I bought their EP right then and there! When Boy & Bear came onstage there was some kind of lighting issue and they played their first 2 songs in the dark, with a great sense of humor of course! I absolutely loved this show. It was one of those shows where you know every word of every song and can sing along perfectly. I was so close to the performers and the room was filled with other fans that adored this group just like I did. It felt magical.
The last show I went to was Lykke Li at Vicar Street, a venue similar to the Roseland Theater. I had floor tickets for this and got to stand really close to the stage. The opener was Eliot Sumner, who I had never heard of. Their style was a little heavier then I usually like but the bass was going hard and I loved to dance along. I bought the EP when I got home that night and haven’t stopped listening to it since! Lykke Li’s performance was… incredible. That doesn’t even begin to describe how great it was. She was like Stevie Nicks, all twirls and dreamy arm movements. The entire venue was filled with smoke and billowing fabric panels from the ceiling. She voice is so ethereal and I absolutely love her songs. It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
Dublin’s music scene is very comparable to Portland’s, maybe even better. It is the principal city in Ireland, so if a band or artist is going to make the effort to come to Ireland they are mostly likely to hit Dublin. I really loved the variety of shows available to see, from small venues to huge arenas, unknown artists to chart toppers! Attending these shows has been one of my favorite and most memorable aspects of studying in Dublin.