SAN FRANCISCO — After selling out five consecutive nights at Dublin’s 3Arena, almost any show would be considered an intimate affair. Going from more than 13,000 cheering fans per night to 500 at Slim’s must have seemed like a wonder for Ireland’s current biggest pop act, Picture This. Led by vocalist Ryan Hennessy’s charisma and a room full of Irish flags and soccer jerseys, the show felt more like a homecoming in San Francisco.
The band opened with the dance pop tunes “Modern Love” and “If You Wanna Be Loved,” both from the band’s just-released sophomore album, MDRN LV. More upbeat songs like “You & I” and “Everything I Need,” from Picture This’ 2017 self-titled debut were followed by the riffing on “Nevada” and a more intimate but equally powerful “Dance Away With You.”
The band ranged from rock to pop, and from intense to intimate arrangements, such as on “Hurt Nobody,” which began with one voice and a sample—and the audience singing along—before turning euphoric. Another band that has written like that: The 1975. “Life of the Party,” also new track, got the same build-up.
Picture This continued with “Addicted To You,” during which Hennessy took a fan’s phone and recorded a selfie video as he sang “I’m addicted to you, and only you.” It was a move straight out of Bono’s playbook.
Hennessy introduced The drum-fill-heavy “More Than Just Tonight” by saying it was bassist Cliff Deane’s favorite new song. The band followed that with “This Morning,”the folky “Never Change” and poppy MDRN LV cut “Everything Or Nothing”
After a few “olé olé olé” chants by the audience, Picture This returned to the stage to perform synth-pop single, “One Drink,” “When We Were Young” (not by The Killers) and concluded with the rock-rooted “Take My Hand.”
The show was opened by a solo set by Angeleno band Future Feats‘ vocalist, who goes by “Josh,” who switched between intimately performed songs with manic talk-singing. He opened with “Nights Like Tonight” and “On Diamonds,” from 2016’s [TTWLF]. Other cuts included “Excuses /// Drinking on a Plane,” “Cities on Wonder,” “27” and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”
Follow photographer Joaquin Cabello at Instagram.com/joaquinxcabello.