Celebrating 25 years as a band is quite a milestone but to do so in front of three sold-out audiences who can recite your lyrics verbatim even more-so. Standing in the audience for The Frames at Live at The Marquee is a sight to behold. Having performed twice last week at Iveagh Gardens, this is not only their last hurrah for celebration but also one of the last concerts to be held this year at the Cork summer festival.
Opening with slow burner ‘Dream Awake’ from Burn The Maps, the crowd build in anticipation as the band transition to the heavy hitting chorus and are welcomed by the sold out Cork audience with a rousing applause. Wasting no time, Hansard immediately starts ‘God Bless Mom’ [Cork, as he sang it] and packs the track with as many references to the accent and the likes of Montenotte to amuse the natives. Over the course of the next 2 hours, the crowd easily overpower The Frames in volume as they bellow lyrics back at the band.
Classics like ‘7 Day Mile’, ‘Angel At My Table’, ‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Rent Day Blues’ all result in Hansard retiring from the microphone as the chorus’ echoe through the marquee. In fact, there are few songs which aren’t fan favourites; The Frames take very good care of their legion and having seen them on several occasions, we’re confident that their set list for Live at the Marquee is one of the strongest ever. The most famous, ‘Revelate’, ‘Pavement Tune’ and ‘Fitzcarraldo’ all come at the halfway mark of the evening before Colm Mac Con Iomaire and his violin take to the front of the stage to perform a moving instrumental piece using a loop pedal to build upon a beautiful melody – nicely accenting the performance as a whole.
When The Frames return, Glen introduces a face few may have seen on stage before; it’s that of Irish director and original bassist, John Carney. Having originally played on Another Love Song, Carney went on to write and direct ‘Bachelors Walk’ and ‘Once’ to name a few. Walking on stage, guitar in hand, Carney still has a sense of rhythm for the songs he helped hone and does a good job with ‘The Dancer’ and ‘Before You Go’ from their debut album before the group transition into ‘Star Star’ and ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’. The night ends with a performance of Mic Christopher’s ‘Hey Day’, dedicated to the late friend of Hansard, and is followed by a rousing encore of The Auld Triangle.
One of the biggest factors of The Frames success is their love of music as a form of expression – and not only the need to keep that form alive but to share it and repeat it. There’s a certain sense of romance seldom seen from other Irish bands which reiterates that The Frames are an Irish treasure. I once heard that Glen Hansard had a dream that a great Irish library burned to the ground; he woke up the next morning to learn that Liam Clancy had died. Whether it’s true or not, it’s that wonderful charm and cultural pride embedded in The Frames which has seen them through this last 25 years and no doubt will get them through the next.
The Frames photographed at the Marquee Cork by Peter O’Hanlon