The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


The Frames (live in The Olympia, Dublin)

Glen Hansard of the FramesReview Snapshot: The Frames haven’t played a small venue in Ireland in a while but Glen Hansard has proven that no matter how long he’ll stay away from his roots he’ll always return with a bang. From ‘Santa Maria’ and ‘Revelate’ to his minute covers in the middle of songs (tonight it was the turn of ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Lilac Wine’). He showed it wasn’t all serious as he delivered over-served fans with his wit the now expected quips and anecdotes between songs.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:  “I want my life to make more sense… I want my country to make some f**king sense!” he quips halfway through the show proving that Glen Hansard isn’t as removed from the everyman as his fame would have you believe. Sell-out tours with The Swell Season and getting his hands on an Oscar has not removed this busker from his roots.

Coming back to Ireland fully formed and playing as furiously as ever The Frames are one of those bands that split opinions like no other, especially when at home. Love them or hate them no one can deny that seeing them live is somewhat of a spectacle. From the minimalist stage you have nothing to focus on but the sheer brilliance of a band celebrating what is now their 20th anniversary.

This performance mirrored their entire career in many ways, with a slow lulling start (‘Headlong’) before picking up gear about halfway through and creating a bond with the crowd, something that seems to be rather underestimated by many bands these days. There is something special in a front man that can both conduct his band and ultimately conduct his entire audience, leaving them longing for so much more. 

Proving that Irish devotion to music isn’t dead, The Frames relationship with the crowd is intense. Like long term partners, members of the audience could be heard discussing the very first and last time they had seen The Frames play, even fondly recalling that one time they had run into Glen Hansard busking on a street in Dublin.

Everything from a classic Frames show are present, incoherent rambling song openings, crowds singing along, snippets from others songs (yes he treated everyone to his usual rendition from Willy Wonka) but the crowd doesn’t fully catch up until they play ‘Lay Me Down’ speeding it up halfway through in what seemed to be homage to The Sex Pistols

The final leg of the gig is an exciting run through of crowd favourites from ‘Revelate’ to ‘Santa Maria’, with ‘Fake’ having the crowd gleefully singing along, It ended on a monumental rendition of The Auld Triangle with dedications to Damien Dempsey

This is the point when nobody expects the gig to be over, it played like it would never have stopped, and felt like it should have never ended. But, alas, the band left the stage and the lights came up leaving the audience in take in The Olympia in its faded sense of grandeur.

Greg Synnott

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