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Dermot Kennedy Delivers The Goods In D.C.

Dermot Kennedy At The Anthem

 What’s up everyone, it’s Derek here! I’m back again with another night of music in Washington, DC. It’s an artist I’ve been hoping to see live for almost two years, paired with one of my favorite Alternative musicians that continues to grow every year. For this show, I was hanging out at The Anthem. If you’re not familiar, it’s a newer venue placed upon The Wharf overlooking a beautiful body of water while inside it is a massive, primarily General Admission venue. Upon entry, you’ll notice the beautiful shortened chandeliers around the venue that accents an industrial vibe with materials such as wood, steel, and concrete used throughout. 

Starting the evening was an artist known as SYML. The word SYML means “simple” in Welch and connects with the roots of lead singer Brian Fennell. I’ve had the honor of seeing SYML perform before and have been following his music for years and he never disappoints. On this night, in particular, he introduced himself to DC with songs that blend powerful lyrics with oftentimes, beautifully thought out music. The first and most recent song is “Symmetry” which now at the time of writing this comes in two flavors, the original single and the newly released dark version. 

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The incredible thing about SYML’s music is that it truly has the ability to take you on an emotional journey much like that of “Girl” and “Flags.” The first one is a song about his young daughter and the second being one that confronts the darkness of cancer. After taking a moment to invite the audience to ask him questions, in which they ranged from favorite color to song requests until it was time for more music. With a moving cover of “Dancing On My Own” the room filled with synchronized voices. Following that, it was time to bring his set to an end with a song that started with such a powerful focus on the vocals before gradually growing into an emotionally deep song made all the better with the accompanying guitar, keyboard, and cello. The song was titled “Everything All At Once”.

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After the stage was then cleared, LED lights ran the length of the stage as the large video screen in the background illuminated with a graphic resembling the texture of Dermot Kennedy’s debut album ‘Without Fear’. As the lights went down and a rumbling made its way through the speakers the crowd erupted with excitement. Some even began to cry with overwhelming joy. In the center of the stage was a small elevated platform that was surrounded by lights that would act as the spot and the home for Dermot over the next hour and a half. Beginning the night was the first track off his album by the name of “An Evening I Will Not Forget,” a fitting song for an introduction as it begins slow and builds into this gut-punch of emotion. That is exactly the theme of the album and in this case the show as well. 

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A few songs in, the screen behind Kennedy showcased two birds that then began to flicker as the introduction to “Moments Passed” took over before focusing spotlights on Kennedy as the birds formed from the stars danced behind him. From this to a song that truly showcased the incredible vocals of this Irishmen, “Rome,” created this moment of peace in a room of thousands. Building off this, I recall being completely blown away by how focused the audience became as he played the title track off his new album “Without Fear”. The room was silent as the sole focus was his voice. It was incredible. 

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Arguably his most popular song to date then made an appearance after he shared a message of reassurance that if you’re going through dark times, “it won’t stick with you forever”. The song I’m speaking of is of course “Outnumbered”. As the song began, a wave of small flags arose throughout the crowd. The flag of Ireland to be exact. He then took us on a musical vacation to a place that makes him feel at home with the sounds of “For Island Fires and Family”. It was a moment that allowed the fans to truly shine as they sang along with hauntingly good vocals and harmony.  

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Finally, as the night drew to an end he played the upbeat and rhythmically catchy “Redemption” before playing the song that first introduced me to Kennedy almost two years ago which was “Power Over Me”. He then announced that he had one more song remaining and took a moment to thank everyone as the was presented with thunderous applause. He took a few moments to soak it all in before beginning “After Rain,” a song that invited the entire crowd to soulfully sing the lyrics “you won’t go lonely” as part of the chorus. It was a beautiful end to an amazing set and an absolutely incredible evening. One might even say it was “An Evening I Will Not Forget”.

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That being said, make sure to catch Dermont Kennedy and SYML on tour as they close out the US leg later this month before returning to the UK, Australia, and beyond this spring. Also, keep an eye out as there are a few dates on the books for this summer that you don’t want to miss. 

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From your favorite Photographic Ginger, this was another night in DC that I won’t soon forget. If you happened to capture any shots of the night, feel free to tag us on social media as Shutter 16 Magazine and throw in #TwitFromThePit for the world to see. 

See full gallery of the night here!


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