The moments that altered my brain chemistry with music
By Noel Ormita, Contributor
Whether you are a long-time fan or a new one, you could sing along to at least more than one Dermot Kennedy song. The concert, held at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Oct. 21, began with two opening acts, Edmonton-based folk singer Martin Kerr and indie pop band, Valley.
Around the same time last year, Kennedy was the opening act for Shawn Mendes’ Wonder Tour in Calgary where he sang “Kiss Me” and “Something to Someone” as a sneak peek to the Sonder album launch.
His setlist began with “Blossom,” which according to Kennedy, is a song about being scared of future goodbyes. The Sonder album, released in November 2022, highlights the artist’s vulnerability and mastery of his emotions captured through words.
“This album is about the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own,” Kennedy said at the Calgary concert.
The selected tracks were diverse, from hit songs like “Power Over Me” which has more than 350 million streams on Spotify to one of his newer songs “Any Love” which has Kennedy’s favourite lyric, “Someone I was seen by, someone who was so mine.”
Highlight of the night
In the second half of the night, he sat down with a keyboard and talked to the audience. It was like a one-on-one conversation, where even though you may be in the worst seats in the house, you can still imagine him talking right to you.
“Close your eyes or don’t close your eyes but throughout this song just relive your best day for me,” Kennedy said as he sang his song “Rome.” The crowd was silent for a moment as he sang the lyrics, ‘I just want to be there again.’
It was followed by a two-minute applause and fans stomping on the stands of the Saddledome after he performed “Innocence and Sadness.”
My two cents on a heartfelt night
Kennedy’s songs and energy remind me of artists like John Legend, Adele and Sam Smith. Every word he sings is intentional and helps you reveal parts of your soul that for a long time, haven’t had a voice.
This was my third time seeing him perform. The first time I discovered him, he opened for Shawn Mendes in Calgary. His ability to engage with his audience doesn’t need a world-class production. In fact, he wore a plain black shirt and pants playing his guitar with no theatrics on stage. It’s been a long time since an artist gave me chills when I saw them perform—he did it the first time, a second time in Vancouver, and again in Calgary.
My favourite track from this album is “Better Days” because it gives you a dose of hopefulness during dark moments in life. Whether you’re having a rough day, grieving a loss and wanting to have those Drake moments, or you feel confident and want to conquer the world with cautious optimism, there’s a soothing sense of relatability in his songs.
Dermot Kennedy displays a melancholic, raw and raspy tone that swallows your sadness and transforms it into a sweet tune. It’s a type of authenticity and powerful storytelling that has been lacking in the music industry for a long time.
The Sonder Tour heads to Australia and New Zealand before drawing the curtain in Europe in 2024.