Upstairs At The Garage felt very reminiscent of Liverpool’s infamous Cavern Club: low ceiling, bright lights and a small alcove for a bar at the back. The place had character.
First to take to the stage were Irish four-piece, The Coronas. They appeared to be oozing with energy and their songs were certainly a reflection of this. The folk rock band didn’t seem to realise just how much they ignited the crowd with their hard-hitting electric guitar melodies, intense drum beats and the powerful leading vocals of Danny O’Reilly. Hudson Taylor briefly joined them to sing a number of theirs, What A Love. The band showed dynamic contrast by incorporating two acoustic songs into their set, one including the angelic vocals of Gabrielle Aplin.
Shortly after The Coronas’ set finished, Hudson Taylor were out and filling the room with their effortless Everly Brothers harmonies; the energy in the room continued its steady incline. The duo opened with ‘Drop Of Smoke’, which immediately got the crowd bouncing and re-engaged. From then on they played a selection of beloved tracks from their album, Singing For Strangers, including their latest single ‘World Without You‘ and the upbeat harmonies of ‘Stranger’ and ‘Care’. The clear highlight of their initial set was the unexpected cover choice of ACDC’s ‘Back in Black’. Their take was astounding and the brothers’ voices worked perfectly on such a heavy rock tune. Throughout the set the pair kept their humble charm, frequently thanking the crowd for coming out, wishing us a happy St Patrick’s Day and exuding gratefulness as we sang along to every song.
Finally came the promised “Hootenanny” segment of the evening, and it did not disappoint. As the crowd pushed closer to the front of the stage, Hudson Taylor got everyone dancing with a crowd favourite ‘Battles’, preceded by their ever-powerful cover of ‘Shipping Up To Boston’. The atmosphere in the room was surging and was only elevated even further when The Coronas rejoined the stage to assist in singing some incredible covers. The selection of songs reflected the strong vocal and musical abilities of all on stage; with brilliant performances of The Beatles’, ‘Get Back’, The Band’s, ‘The Weight’ as well as ending on the late, great Irish singer-songwriter, Mic Christopher’s ‘Heyday’.
For a gig described as “a drunken last minute decision”, the set lists felt confident and well assembled, which is a credit to both The Coronas and Hudson Taylor. Proof that real musicians can spontaneously pick up their guitars and still wow a crowd.