‘It’s the biggest headline show of my life so far!” beams Cian Ducrot, arms outstretched. The confidently titled Victory tour is a lap of honour after a major year for the Cork singer-songwriter: Ducrot supported Ed Sheeran in the spring, hit No 1 in the UK and Ireland with his debut album Victory in the summer, and tonight his diaristic singles inspire hand-on-heart emotion from the sold-out show’s audience.
Formerly a street performer and later a formally trained flautist, Ducrot has gained popularity on the social media platform TikTok. His songs are sincere and uncomplicated, featuring strong piano melodies that lead into powerful choruses. However, while his catchy choruses may suggest otherwise, his lyrics are complex and courageous. One of his most popular songs, “Heaven,” is a heartfelt ballad dedicated to his brother and addresses the domestic abuse they experienced growing up.
Before the release of “Part of Me,” a song about a friend who took his own life, Ducrot speaks directly to the audience, saying, “You are deeply loved.” He pleads, “Everyone here loves you. Please do not leave.” The song itself is a simple piano ballad, but what stands out is the remarkable number of men in the crowd who shed tears while Ducrot performs. It is a rare and admirable talent to evoke such raw emotional response from an audience.
However, his songs on the album, which also delve into challenging themes and are musically similar, tend to be overshadowed. Ducrot possesses a large, resonant voice that is well-suited for delivering emotional performances, resulting in a consistently intense show. While his dedication to each song is commendable, it runs the risk of dulling his evident ability to make strong emotional connections.
Ducrot’s blend of friendly charm and powerful choruses has been likened to that of Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi. However, his performance tonight suggests aspirations for a more dramatic, pop-rock style. Victory’s impeccably crafted songs are given an edgier edge with the addition of gritty electric guitar, and a haunting rendition of “Everyone Who Falls in Love (Has Someone Else They’re Thinking Of)” showcases Ducrot’s ability to hold his own against thunderous drums, cementing his presence as a frontman rather than a simple singer-songwriter. This larger scale performance seems to suit him well, and fortunately he has even bigger shows lined up in the future.