Picture this: A couple of thousand young women and men, in their late teens and early 20s, all crammed excitedly into a giant tent in search of romance, or at the very least, the shift.

From Nathan Carter’s baby-faced grandmotherly appeal to rave nostalgia for the 40-somethings with Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Marquee goes all out to offer something for just about every age group.

Last night it was the turn of a distinctly younger crowd, as Athy duo Picture This took to the Marquee’s stage for their first of two sold-out nights.

It was also, unsurprisingly, a largely female crowd: Founding band members Ryan Hennessy and Jimmy Rainsford, themselves still in their early 20s, have generated a huge female following since they exploded onto the scene a couple of years ago with heartfelt lyrics and Hennessy’s distinctive croon.

Graham Stack, Donnybrook, Aidan Cawley, from Douglas, and Jack Boyton, of Blackrock, at the Picture This gig.
Graham Stack, Donnybrook, Aidan Cawley, from Douglas, and Jack Boyton, of Blackrock, at the Picture This gig.

They are a highly marketable commodity. The duo were a YouTube success story before selling out their first-ever gig in the 800-seater Academy in Dublin. They’ve been going impressively strong ever since: In 2017, only Coldplay, U2, and Guns ’n’ Roses sold more concert tickets in Ireland.

Teen busking phenomenon Allie Sherlock opened the show, solo with her guitar. Cork pride combined with appreciation of the 13-year-old prodigy’s unique voice meant she was greeted with a massive response.

Allie was followed by dreadlocked British singer-songwriter JP Cooper, who had a receptive crowd for his slick yet soulful offerings, including ‘Closer’, a song he wrote for his son. There were many fans on hand: Not only was all his inter-song chat met with screams of approval, but the crowd swayed and sang along.

But it was nothing like the huge reception that greeted Picture This when they made their entrance and launched into ‘Everything I Need’, Hennessy and drummer Rainsford accompanied by rhythm and lead guitars and keys.

Cut from the same cloth as acts such as The Script, The Coronas, and Kodaline, Picture This write earnest, nostalgic pop songs. Theirs is a distinctly upbeat, youthful, and optimistic appeal.

Maybe that’s why they’d give pause to someone older and of a slightly more cynical inclination.

Nostalgia in the young is always faintly suspect — what exactly do under-20s have to be nostalgic about?

Katie, Emma, and Fiona McCarthy, of Fermoy, Co Cork, all set for the Picture This concert.
Katie, Emma, and Fiona McCarthy, of Fermoy, Co Cork, all set for the Picture This concert.

Some of these lyrics could well have been generated by a misguided nostalgia algorithm. In ‘Take My Hand’, Hennessy confusingly sings “I’ll treat you like your father treats your mother”. What could that mean? Is he going to drive her to a garden centre and sit in the car reading the newspaper?

But cynicism be gone. It’s no use sniffing: Picture This put on a damn good show, and it’s always uplifting to see 4,000 people singing their hearts out on a summer’s evening, which they did with gusto for hits like ‘Saviour’.

And that’s what the Marquee is for, at the end of the day.

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