DANNY O’Reilly, frontman with The Coronas - one of Ireland’s biggest bands - reckons Limerick is going to be “the place to be” this May Bank Holiday weekend, with a confluence of large events, including the band’s gig in the ‘Big Top’ in the Milk Market on Saturday, meaning thousands of people are set to descend on the city.
Coronas fans should be thankful - and there are literally legions of them out there - because the Dublin indie band are only playing two headline shows anywhere this year, in Limerick this weekend and in Marlay Park in July, with KT Tunstall and a crowd of around 6,000 fans to attend.
“I can’t wait until the gig in Limerick, there seems to be a lot of talk about it now as well, I know it is a big deal, there is a lot of stuff going on over the weekend down there,” says Danny. “Our shows in Dolan’s have always been amazing, we love playing there, so when they asked to do the Milk Market, we jumped at the chance. It is going to be a great night, we are really looking forward to it.”
The band will be bringing a full production rig, lights and sound and are promising a big show in Limerick’s historic Milk Market - this being the first gig in the newly redeveloped, multi-functional space. But O’Reilly is quick to pay tribute to Coronas fans in Limerick, who helped the band immensely when they started in 2007.
“Limerick was one of the first places that we toured outside Dublin, I remember that we played Upstairs in Dolans to about 30 people one time, that was our first gig,” he says.
“We still felt a connection, even that night, and you could tell that those people were gonna go off and tell their mates that there was this new band and it felt like every time we went back, we were really welcomed and it was a strong word of mouth thing around Limerick.”
Since then they have played many sold out shows in these parts, including two in the Warehouse before Christmas. Their level of popularity in Limerick is indicative of their hardcore support around Ireland - where they have had two platinum selling albums, 2007’s Heroes or Ghosts and the 2009 follow-up ‘Tony Was An Ex-Con’, which won them the Meteor Award for Best Irish Album last year.
Indeed, their biggest hits, Grace Don’t Wait and San Diego Song, both spent a staggering 16 weeks in the Irish Top 40 - not a band achievement for four lads from Dublin, still signed to an independent record label, 3ú Records.
“Ireland is small enough that you can promote yourself - it can be handy to have a major label, but we got lucky that we had an indie label that were very supportive and then we got our foot in the door with radio play, which is key,” explains Danny.
The band notably supported Paul McCartney in the RDS last summer - “an amazing experience,” he says - and recently toured Europe with The Script and then went to America, but one wonders what the future holds for The Coronas. Presented with the example of The Blizzards, who reached a similar level of popularity in Ireland and duly failed to make it abroad, Danny is relaxed.
“Yes, it is something that you have to be aware of,” he says, “The Blizzards, I think, called it quits themselves and they have gone as far as they can. But if you look at bands like The Thrills who had a lot of success overseas as well, their third album, for whatever reason, just didn’t happen for them. You never know, that is why we just make sure we enjoy it as we go and we don’t take anything for granted, because literally, people could just turn around and say, no we have had enough of the Coronas and it could be all over in a year.”
“The goal is to write the best album we can and to a certain extent everything is out of your hands and fingers crossed things will happen, and if it does we will grab our chance with both hands and just go for it.”
The band aim to decamp to Dingle in May to write and record and hope to have a new album out before Christmas.
“We are really hoping that this could be our breakthrough album overseas - things have been going great for us here, but we still have ambition to make things happen outside Ireland as well, and fingers crossed this could be our chance,” says Danny.
“But we are in really good shape at the moment, we already have nine songs demo’d and ready to record and we felt we came back from the European and American tours a better band. So the focus really is to record the best album that we can, write the best tunes that we can, and hopefully that stuff might fall into place for us.”
The Coronas play in the Milk Market this Saturday, doors at 7.30pm.