Live Review: Dermot Kennedy / Noah Kahan – Resorts World Arena, Birmingham 13.04.2023 Plus Gallery

Hope Small

We kick off the night with the wonderful Noah Kahan, a fitting support for the main act of our evening Dermot Kennedy. Noah has the ability to take up the entire stage with his voice, guitar and talent (and his small band). His smooth voice manages to captivate the audience and prepares them for what’s in store on this particular Thursday evening. A little quip about the bad weather in Vermont, his home state, and being able to relate over here in the UK is welcomed with a giggle from the crowd and we’re given ‘Stick Season‘ which a surprising amount of people sing back to the singer-songwriter. More of his personality shines through as he says his goodbyes before “mysteriously disappearing off stage” with his final song ‘The View Between Villages‘.

The gap between artists passes quickly and before we know it, the lights have dimmed and Dermot‘s dramatic, glitchy VT is playing on the screens at the back of the stage. Before Dermot can even make it on stage, a fight breaks out in the audience, forcing security to make their way in and split the problem-makers up. Just in time, as our headline act is making his way to stage in a rather anti-climatic walk to mid stage. The 5th track of the night ‘Lost‘ shows the potential of this crowd’s volume but you get the feeling that they’re holding back and they’ve got a lot more to give than this. A small break between ‘Lost‘ & ‘Young & Free‘ warrants cheers of “we love you, Dermot” and “go on, Dermot“, bringing a smile to this Irish artist’s face. The first note of ‘Dreamer‘ fills the arena and in return, a good chunk of the audience throw their phones in the air to record the 3 minute event.

It becomes obvious very early on that Mr. Kennedy has a lot of talent; from his raspy and soulful voice to playing multiple instruments, it seems like there’s not a lot this man can’t do. The production level in this show also is something to admire. The amount of effort that’s been put into this 100 minute show is a clear indication of his passion and pride of how far he’s come – it would be easy to do the bare minimum after coming this far but that’s not the case for this tour. The night moves on the crowd seem to become more involved, chanting “glory” back to the stage and managing to get louder with every try. As we reach ‘Rome‘, the venue is dropped into darkness, to reveal a keyboard centre stage when the lights rise again. Dermot takes his place and asks the audience to pick a memory and keep it in their head for ‘Rome‘ making the track even more emotional. We’re half way through the show and this becomes the loudest song of the night so far.

Moving on to ‘Innocence & Sadness‘, the crowd are quick to oblige when DK asks for a light from everyone to fill the room. The track is introduced as a song about not know who you are or pretending to be someone you’re not and couples embrace each other whilst singing every word with their whole chest. ‘After Rain‘ includes some audience participation as everyone joins in singing “you won’t go lonely” back to Dermot at his request. As we fill in the gaps for our headliner, you get to hear just how dedicated this fanbase is to their singer-songwriter.

“Will you sing with me?” – More requests come from Kennedy moving in to ‘Better Days‘ which quickly becomes the loudest and most popular track on this 18 song strong setlist. Toe start tapping a little harder and more hands than ever reach the air as we get to the chorus of ‘Kiss Me‘. We’ve reached the final 3 songs of the night and this is where both DK & his audience come into their element. Before we’re treated to ‘Outnumbered‘, we’re given an introduction to the individuals that make the band on stage and Dermot‘s continues clapping ensures that every member gets the round of applause that they deserve. ‘Outnumbered‘ holds the spot of fan favourite for all of 2 minutes before swiftly being over taken by ‘Something To Someone‘ where the crowd take it up a notch, screaming every word at the top of their lungs. The lights dim and the audience leave the arena with a night they won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

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