By Matty Hume
CALGARY – Time to practice your best fan-shriek and put on your twisting shoes, because the Irish Invasion has arrived. Over the past decade, the Coronas have worked their way from high school jams through the pub circuit to become an Irish arena staple.
While ‘indie-pop’ may be the easiest label to splash over the Dublin-based drinking buddies, frontman Danny O’Reilly isn’t so quick to pigeonhole their sonics. After all, they aren’t named The Guinnesses.
“I suppose we consider ourselves songwriters more than a cool band – we take pieces of influence from all over so it’s hard to describe really,” O’Reilly says with a glorious brogue. “I don’t know, sometimes we’re sort of like the Beatles because the Beatles are so vast.”
Haughty comparisons aside, The Coronas’ tale of personal triumph is exciting in its own right, with no need an acrimonious mid-life break-up. But like the fab four, the Coronas are a dynamic quartet with vocalist O’Reilly leading the charge and Dave McPhillips on guitar, Conor Egan on drums and steady pal Graham Knox on bass. It’s nice knowing he has such loyal teammates at his back.
“Myself and Graham, we were friends all our lives. Dave came on board when we were in University. We were going to give this band thingy a year to try out and that was 10 years ago,” O’Reilly reminisces.
Despite being green, white, and orange through-and-through, a bit of red has bled into the mix. The Coronas’ percussionist, Egan, happens to be their true north connection. The Canuck-bred beatkeeper first met the rest of the band during their summer studying at the University of British Columbia, and ended up joining the ranks upon their return to Ireland.
With albums that go straight to the top of the Irish charts, including 2011’s Closer to You (3u Records) The Coronas have been quenching the thirst of indie rock audiences for years, so it wasn’t entirely shocking when Island Records, a London-based major label, scooped them up in 2013 to keep the party going in the UK. Disappointingly, it was a less than refreshing experience.
“Radio 1 didn’t play the single and we didn’t get to tour properly at all,” O’Reilly laments. “Unfortunately, we became one of those statistics – for every 20 bands that sign to a major label you only hear about one. But thankfully, it still worked out well for us.”
For their fifth and most recent record, Trust the Wire (2017 So Far So Good), the lads returned home to launch their own independent label and quickly scored a number-one single on Irish charts. Hot off unleashing an ear-catching alt-rock EP titled Reprise; The Coronas were a bright spot at this year’s Lollapalooza festival.
We were never an overnight success. We went through the small clubs up to little theatres, now we’re luckily at the stage where we’re selling arenas. But it was all a… process and we’re starting to see that in North America. We’re excited to build on that.”
The Coronas on September 25 at the Gateway (Calgary), September 26 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton) and September 28 at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver)Danny O’Reilly, Gateway, Starlite Room, The Coronas, Vogue Theatre