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Arlo Parks in Dublin review: An energetic, intimate performance to kick off her tour

The crowd take in every word from the Mercury-winning singer-songwriter as her sweet voice contrasts contrast with her hard-hitting band

Arlo Parks

3Olympia, Dublin

“I feel like Arlo Parks fans are pretty chill,” says one person in a queue at the 3Olympia before the English singer-songwriter’s gig on Tuesday.

It’s the first night of the Mercury Prize winner’s tour, which will stop off in Manchester, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Paris and London, and “pretty chill” seems like a fair assessment of a crowd who spend most of the evening swaying to Parks’s indie-pop-with-rock-riff tunes, breaking this trance only to wave their arms, jump or clap when encouraged.

Don’t mistake this swaying for lack of appreciation, though – whenever Parks takes a well-earned breather between songs, shouts of “You’re beautiful!” or “Love you!,” can be heard.

For Parks herself, “chill” could not be further from the truth. She bounces around the stage, throwing in some dance moves, pointing and waving. Despite this, she later tells the audience she’s not much of a dancer and asks them to dance to her hit Too Good. They gladly obey, and the swaying intensifies. The appreciation appears to be mutual, as Parks – aka Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho – beams and tells the audience, “You guys are so sweet to me.”


The 23-year-old Londoner, who is now based in Los Angeles, could be considered the embodiment of youth culture today, down to her style and her lyrics about mental health, love triangles and being terrified of change (and of turning 24, as she sings in Purple Phase). She appears to feel every word of her performance deeply, as if reliving the emotions they bring.

The gig feels quite intimate, as Parks looks into the faces of the people in the front row and smiles whenever she gets the chance. This is helped by the lights that come on just above the crowd when she speaks: they also break down the barrier between artist and crowd, momentarily making it seem as if you’re just in a room filled with friends.

Before the show Parks posts on Instagram that she is “figuring a way to launch myself from the stage into the crowd as we speak”. This doesn’t happen, but she does get down to lean over the barrier in the front.

The highlight of the night is when she is handed a red guitar and goes full rock star. She bounces around the stage alongside her bass player, Sam Harding, and guitarist, Dani Diodato. The three look to be having the time of their lives. She takes a second afterwards to take in the moment and smile before it’s straight on to the next song.

Her sweet voice is a contrast to the hard-hitting band accompanying her, but it is never lost among the music. This is her show.

Parks leaves the stage after giving it her all during Devotion. The crowd shout for one more tune, and she soon returns to perform Softly as her one-song encore.

The only disappointment of the night, according to fans, is that the American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t appear on stage so they can sing their song Pegasus together – Bridgers’s Boygenius bandmates, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, are here to watch to tonight’s gig, as photographs shared to social media show. But that’d be looking for jam on our egg.

Rebecca Daly

Rebecca Daly

Rebecca Daly is an Irish Times journalist