The Frames Live @The Marquee, Cork 11 July 2015

Formed in Dublin in 1990 by Glen Hansard, The Frames have been one of the most influential bands to grace the Irish music scene. To celebrate their 25th anniversary The Frames put on 3 shows which all rapidly sold out. Tonight it’s the turn of The Marquee, Cork to play host.

‘Dream awake’ gently opens proceedings on a gorgeously lit stage but it isn’t long before the tempo is increased as ‘God Bless Mom’, ‘The Stars are Underground’ and ‘Perfect Opening Line’ all get the blood pumping. The hero of the evening so far is the guitar tech who has in the space of two songs been called into action as Glen knocks over his mic and breaks a guitar string. He gets a kiss on the cheek for his troubles.

By the time they reach ‘Lay me down’ and ‘what Happens When The Heart Just Stops’ from the 2001 Album For The Birds Hansard has donned a mask and beanie hat while welcoming Dave Hingerty who played drums on the record. ‘Headlong’ also from For The Birds is accompanied by a story which reveals that the song was about having an altercation with a bouncer in Cork’s legendary music venue Sir Henry’s which ending up with Glen being put in a headlock; don’t worry Glen we have all been there.

Glen Hansard and Colm Mac Con Iomaire are the only Frames members who have been ever present and over the course of this mammoth two and a half hour plus set they are joined by all their old bandmates to showcase the songs that made them great.
‘Revelate’, ‘Rent Day Blues’, ‘Pavement Tune’,’Fitzcarraldo’ ,’Monument’ and  ’Red Chord’ to name a few have this sell-out crowd in the palm of their hands. An enthralling light show on the roof of the tent has necks craned just as ‘Star Star’ gets to its Willy Wonka inspired middle 8 ‘Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination’.

A nice addition to their extensive back catalogue are the excellent cover versions of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’ where Colm and his Violin steal the show, The Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’ and Mic Christopher’s ‘Heyday’ where the stage is mobbed by past band members and everybody’s children.

The show comes to a close with an a cappella version of Daniel Johnston’s ‘Devil Town’ where the crowd are encouraged to click and sing along and a wonderful  rendition of ‘The Auld Triangle’ in which everyone in the entourage comes on stage to sing a verse.

I fear this could be the last time we see The Frames in Cork and even more worryingly possibly the last time we ever see them. If this is to be the case, I for one would like to thank them for 25 years of exceptional entertainment.

Words by Anthony Kelly