On Wednesday night, Irish rockers Snow Patrol played their first proper LA gig in six years when they arrived on stage at the Fonda Theatre. Based the large contingent of Irish fans in the audience, one could easily mistake the show for a homecoming gig.
The show came weeks after Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody opened up about his battles with addiction and depression as he tangles with the album cycle surrounding their upcoming new album Wildness due out in May. It marks their first record in seven years.
This is a band that charted massive success in the mid-oughts as Lightbody had a knack for writing hook-laden rock songs like the inescapable “Chasing Cars” — a song that in its day you couldn’t go grocery shopping without hearing.
I remember buying their Live at Somerset House concert DVD at the mall (remember FYE?) and playing it repeatedly. I had been to only a handful of concerts at this point in my teens, and remember the pure joy on the crowd’s face as they ran through hits like “Run” and “Chocolate”. On Wednesday, I saw this joy firsthand when they played the opening U2-like riffs of “Open Your Eyes”.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder sometimes, and it took a little bit of separation for me to remember just how many bangers they are responsible for. The band proved Wednesday night that their best days are not behind them, with new cuts sounding fresh, as though the time away allowed these guys to fully recharge their batteries.
“It’s one of the most incredible feelings and I forgot, and now I fucking remember,” Lightbody said of the feeling of playing a live show.
The show wasn’t without a surprise. Actress and musician Minnie Driver joined Lightbody on vocals for “Set the Fire to the Third Bar” (the album version features Martha Wainwright), knocking it out of the park as you can see below.
Before launching into the new song “Life on Earth”, Lightbody recounted how it was a song that took the longest to write on the new album but ended up being the most meaningful. Lightbody shouted out longtime producer Jacknife Lee for his contributions to the song, which features a guitar riff that sounds like something Alice in Chains would’ve played during their MTV Unplugged.
It was a triumphant return to Los Angeles for Snow Patrol, who closed their show by saying a tour announcement was coming soon and they’d definitely be back in Los Angeles. One has to think they’ll play somewhere like the Greek Theatre or even Hollywood Bowl at this stage in their careers.
Photo courtesy of Kayno919 on Instagram