JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

May 16, 2012
South Side Music Hall
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Nolan Smith
Photos by Nolan Smith

Snow Patrol

It was a step down from previous appearances in Dallas, but the results were still the same. A sold-out crowd gathered within the close confines of the South Side Music Hall to pay homage to Northern Ireland's favorite export, Snow Patrol. Though the band is playing in smaller venues these days, their show is still as dazzling as any of their previous big stage appearances.

However, before I cast my observations on these former University of Glasgow students, I want to take a moment to talk about the opening act, Gary Baker, aka Gary Go. At first, I thought this one-man band was going to be a cheap, yet typical, throwaway act. I was wrong. He did more than an adequate job of turning the dullard early crowd into a jovial bunch. The audience shared laughs with this talented performer, who apparently has built quite a reputation from his collaborations with Skrillex and Grammy Award winning DJ Benny Benassi, in the electronic world. His songs "Wonderful" and "Cinema" are major hits on the club charts. Even Lady GaGa crowned Gary Go as her favorite new artist. At one point, the musician played the piano on his iPod Touch and sequenced it through the soundboard as the crowd sang along. This guy was a dream performer for all techno geeks to rally and unite around. He's definitely worth your time to check out in your spare time.

Snow Patrol took the stage in full stride opening up with a myriad of up tempo radio friendly tunes. The music brought roars from the faithful fans, and sucked in those who'd never seen this band play before. The packed house was in full swing when singer Gary Lightbody started mouthing the words to "Run".The crowd took over the vocals, allowing the front man a rare opportunity to go into the audience and dance with several fans. The singer then took the iPhone of some lucky fan, and took a photo of himself with the audience in the background. It was a frozen moment in time I'm sure won't ever be erased from that phone. It's probably already been posted on the Internet as well.

After "Shut Your Eyes" played itself out in a sing-along fashion, Lightbody, mimicking something out of a church choir, exclaimed the hairs on the back of his neck were on end. It had caused him, he said, to receive his first ‘soul boner'. The announcement ignited the already fiery, adoring mob.

Snow Patrol's simple light show is elaborate enough to keep the spectacle on stage moving along. It doesn't detract from the intimate nature of the music, and in this case, the venue itself. Despite the visual escapades emitting from behind the band, at all times the audiences attention was squarely on the master of ceremony, Lightbody. His confidence, stage presence and ability to work the crowd has increased exponentially from the first time I witnessed the band perform in the old Gypsy Tea Room several years ago. Hits such as "Chasing Cars", "Chocolate", "Open Your Eyes", "Crack the Shutters" and "Set Fire to the Third Bar" kept fans fist pumping and gyrating in place with sheer delight.

Snow Patrol finished their 15-song set with an acoustic version of "Make This Go on Forever". The encore included a hearty tribute to Gary Lightbody's father in a beautiful song called "Lifening". The show ended with an enthusiastic, and crowd bouncing, high energy version of "Just Say Yes". As a drained audience prepared to exit into the night, the band hinted they may be back in the fall. That was good news for those leaving the building, happily exhausted both mentally and physically. It would give everyone plenty of time to recover, and get in shape, before springing into action with these Irish lads once again.

Set List:
Hands Open
Take Back the City
Crack the Shutters
This Isn't Everything You Are
In the End
New York
Set the Fire to the Third Bar
Shut Your Eyes
Chasing Cars
Called Out in the Dark
Fallen Empires
Open Your Eyes
Make This Go on Forever
Just Say Yes