Irish rock band The Coronas sold out Manchester’s Night and Day Cafe in a gig that frontman Danny O’Reilly described as a ‘really special’ night for the band.
The wind was howling and the rain was pouring down, but that didn’t stop a strong allegiance of fans from queueing outside the venue’s doors, eagerly waiting to get inside.
There was excitement in the room and the Northern Quarter hotspot was soon packed. The temperature and anticipation noticeably began to rise prior to the band hitting the stage.
The Coronas, who formed in 2003, are on the road to promote their fifth studio album, Trust the Wire, and Friday night’s gig saw the European leg of their tour come to an end in front of the packed-in audience.
Despite the pulsing atmosphere, the gig was a far cry from the type of performance the boys are used to playing back home in Ireland, where crowds turn out in their thousands to see them.
Although for many people this might seem like an anti-climax, frontman O’Reilly was full of enthusiasm about playing smaller, more intimate venues.
“Sometimes you can play a huge venue with tens of thousands of people and you won’t get the same atmosphere like we felt in the room tonight, it was just buzzing,” he told MM.
“These kinds of gigs give us the opportunity to get tighter, there’s no hiding in the smaller venues. We’re up there and we’re exposed.”
Being ‘up there and exposed’ was something the crowd lapped up when O’Reilly took to his keyboard to perform a special rendition of Heroes or Ghosts, the lead single from their first studio album, which turned 10 years old last week.
He jokingly asked fans for their forgiveness before starting the track, admitting that the rest of the band had placed bets on how many mistakes he would make throughout the song.
Despite producing an incredibly emotive rendition of the track, there was a small fumble in the middle which caused the audience to explode with laughter and encouragement, resulting in a really special moment for both the group and the audience.
Talking about that moment after the show, O’Reilly admitted that you can’t have that kind of engagement with larger audiences, in part because it just wouldn’t pay off.
He explained: “People love that and you can’t really do that in a big venue. You know, have those moments with the crowd. That’s what makes nights like tonight really special to us.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s thousands of people or 200 people, so long as we’re into at and the crowd are into it, that’s what makes the best atmosphere.”
The infectious energy radiating from the band stayed with the audience all evening long, as even those who weren’t familiar with all of the tracks were swept away by the intensity of the performances.
In 2014, international success beckoned for the foursome after signing with recording giants Island Records. Despite their best efforts, the move just wasn’t meant to be and The Coronas only produced one album under the label before returning back to their old ways of producing music independently.
Disappointed but not defeated, the boys took some time to work on their new album, Trust the Wire, crafting a sound which is noticeably different to much of their previous work.
O’Reilly added: “Trust the Wire is something we’re really proud of. It’s taken us a couple of years to write and record it and it’s been received with a great reaction.
“It was released at the start of the summer and it’s been really special for us to be on the road promoting it and its great fun to be playing the news songs live and to see people connecting with the music.
“It couldn’t be going better to be honest, we’re really happy with it.”
Producing their music independently seems to be the winning formula for the band, as Trust the Wire topped the Irish charts within weeks of its release.
Despite their obvious popularity and strong following of fans, O’Reilly is as humble as ever when he jokes about some of the crowds that the band play to overseas.
He explained: “We play big rooms over in Australia and it’s funny because you get people coming up to you saying, ‘to be honest I wasn’t all that big into The Coronas but you came all this way, I had to come and see you’.”
After a night packed full of hits old and new, The Coronas are now due to take a long awaited week off before continuing the tour around Canada, America and Australia, finally returning home to Dublin to play three sold out nights at The Olympia Theatre in December.
As a band who have reigned supreme on home shores, it seems destined that the time is coming for them to start making waves across seas. Until then, we wait in anticipation for the day that we will see The Coronas receive the international recognition that they well and truly deserve.