Most bands of Snow Patrol’s stature don’t tend to play small venues once they hit the big time, so when it was announced that they were to play an intimate acoustic set in The Button Factory fans everywhere rejoiced. The band agreed to perform as part of the run up to the Meteor Choice Music Prize Irish Album of 2011 Awards, and while at the gig it was announced that at least one more gig like this would happen before the year ended. Who the next artist was though is still shrouded in mystery. Tickets for Snow Patrols gig were like gold dust, and only Meteor customers had the chance to get their hands on tickets.
The night started off with a DJ set by Member Tom Simpson before Stuart Clarke from Hotpress took to the stage to inform the crowd what was going to happen and to introduce the band. We were informed that there was to be an acoustic set followed by a questions and answers section with another acoustic set to close. With the introductions over Front man Gary Lightbody accompanied by guitarist Nathan Connolly arrived on stage to greet the eager audience. They started the set with “Called Out In The Dark” which got it’s first sing-a-long according to Gary. As the first part of the acoustic set went along Gary interacted with the crowd quite a lot and answered back every little quip that was thrown at him. His retorts were hilarious and he had the audience in stitches throughout the whole set.
As the first part of the acoustic set ended, Stuart Clarke returned to the stage to begin the Q&A with the band. The questions were all asked by fans online before the event and screened before they were asked to the band. At one point Stuart Clarke said that Leona Lewis did a good cover of Run which resulted in a lot of boos from the crowd and one man jokingly shouting “Get him!” which just had Gary in fits of laughter for ages.
When the Q&A was over they played the second part of the acoustic set. It was even better than the first and they played a mix of new and old. They did great acoustic versions of hits such as “Eyes Open”, “Run”, “Crack the Shutters”, “Chasing Cars”, “Just Say Yes” and “Set the Fire to the Third Bar”, with the latter featuring backing vocals from Maria Doyle Kennedy. The bulk of the songs were greeted like old friends. But the anticipation and excitement was surprisingly kept for the newer numbers from new album “Fallen Empires”. The bands sixth studio album and their follow-up to 2008’s A Hundred Million Suns.
Fallen Empires sees a bit of a change to their sound, but it really showcases how good a songwriter Gary Lightbody has become. Their next visit to Dublin will be in January at the O2 arena, so it was nice to see them go back to basics, the chances of them doing another such gig are very unlikely. It was an amazing experience and one that I’m sure will stay with those lucky enough to get a ticket for quite a long time.