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.

More on this topic

Live at the Marquee cancelled due to coronavirus but returns to Cork docklands in 2021Live at the Marquee cancelled due to coronavirus but returns to Cork docklands in 2021

Pet Shop Boys announced for Cork's Live at the MarqueePet Shop Boys announced for Cork's Live at the Marquee

Deadmau5 the latest act confirmed for Cork's Live at the MarqueeDeadmau5 the latest act confirmed for Cork's Live at the Marquee

Terry Prone: Ordinary workers not allowed keep up with Jones in their retirementTerry Prone: Ordinary workers not allowed keep up with Jones in their retirement


Lifestyle

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

When the ferryman pulls away from the pier and the salty spray of the sea hits your face the feeling of release from the mainland is deeply pleasurable. Your island awaits. Whether for a day trip or a holiday, the lure of the islands is as magnetic as ever.The Islands of Ireland: The lure of the less-visited

More From The Irish Examiner