Despite being a diehard fan of The Frames, I must confess I somehow managed to go 25 years without ever seeing them in concert. Granted, I was only a few months old when the band was formed, back in 1990, but that’s somewhat beside the point.
As soon as the group announced a Live at the Marquee gig, I knew it was my chance to rectify an egregious oversight.
With the date drawing nearer I braced myself for an electrified gig of epic intensity – and that’s exactly what I got.
For almost three hours, frontman Glen Hansard, and his ragtag group of past and present band members, indulged the crowd with hits from stellar albums such as Fitzcarraldo, Dance the Devil and I Am the Magic Hand.
Colm Mac Con Iomaire was a delight to behold, once again proving how influential a violinist can be to a rock band, while Hansard was his usual self - up-beat, adrenaline-fuelled and absolutely off-the-wall.
“I think Chic and Nile Rogers left some of their funk here,” he shouted between songs. “Because this is the funkiest white Irish lads can get!”
As anyone who has seen the Oscar-winning movie Once can attest to, Hansard is a musical genius when it comes to composing and performing soft, delicate and heart-rending songs, but it’s here, on stage with The Frames, in all their head-banging, guitar-frenzied glory, that the Dubliner seems most at home.
A man in his element, Hansard genuinely seemed to be having the time of his life – breaking strings, knocking mic stands, flailing wildly and liberally dousing his sweating visage with a copious amount of bottled water.
After a few noticeably tamer Marquee gigs this summer, Billy Idol was entertaining yet reserved while Kodaline were polished but kept crowd interaction to a minimum, this all-encompassing offering from The Frames was a breath of fresh air.
Between crowd favourites like Revelate and Lay Me Down, those gathered were regaled with stories about Hansard’s attractive neighbour and an altercation with a bouncer in Sir Henry’s.
A particularly zealous fan threw a white cloth on stage thanking the band for playing on their 40th birthday, while another was gifted with Hansard’s fake red beard which he propelled into the pulsating masses.
A special mention has to go to the stage set up, however, and the impressive lighting. A messy, chaotic grouping, both artistic and brilliant, the glowing lights transformed the stage with a raw and unapologetic beauty – much like the band that graced it.
Star Star became one of the highlights of the performance, with multiple star-like illuminations lighting up the stage and, thanks to some perfectly placed disco balls, thousands of smaller twinkles were projected across the whole tent, cloaking the marquee in a blanket of stars.
“These gigs have blown us away. We’re just having the best time,” shouted Hansard.
It’s safe to say he wasn’t the only one – surely it was the best 25th birthday party anyone had ever been to.
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