Let me just start by saying, I don’t know how to write about music. I don’t know the correct way to describe what I hear and I’m not familiar enough with music to talk intelligently about influences and themes. But I do know when I like something and I know when I want to share it.
I first heard The Frames on a mix tape given to me by a friend at college (back in the days mixes were on tapes). I loved the two songs on the tape and a few years later I saw they were playing at the Cat. No one wanted to go so I went alone. What I experienced ranks near the top of my best live shows list (topped now by Jarvis Cocker of course). The musical swell, the combination of hard and loud rock with beautiful delicate melodies, and the boyish gleeful storytelling of Glen Hansard blew me away.
I’ve since bought many of their albums, my favorite being the live album Set List, but didn’t get the chance to see them again live until last night. I am not yet familiar with their new album and they started out by playing mainly new songs. It took me a little bit of time for me to get warmed up into then. But soon they were playing songs I knew and loved along side the new with both being equally compelling. The set ended and they went off stage with the audience cheering for an encore.
The first encore was a beautiful solo piece by the violinist. Then the band retook the stage and proceeded to play, i think, 7 encore songs. We almost left at one point thinking it had to be over but no they still needed to play more songs. It was the final night of their tour and the sound man’s birthday so there was much celebrating to be had. In the middle of playing the song “New Partner” with the audience singing along, Glen made a request. He said it was the last song and asked for no applause. “Just turn around and walk out singing.” And the audience seemed to obey. With the band still playing, after playing for over two hours, the audience turned and left singing ‘you were always on mind.’ We left. For all I know, they kept playing and are playing still.
The entire show was captured by NPR’s concert series and can be streamed or downloaded here.