Thursday, August 18, 2005

Glen Hansard live in Lisburn

ARTIST: Glen Hansard
VENUE: Lisburn Island Arts Centre
DATE: 17 August 2005

I think what keeps people going to live shows is the
idea that it can break down barriers and provide a
transcendental experience. That’s a bold claim but
there are moments, often too few, where the music
unites singer and audience, where the crowd is not a
collection of individuals, but one. Where people leave
behind their differences and focus on the same thing.

“This moment right now, this is my favourite part of a
gig,” said Glen Hansard lead singer of The Frames at
the Lisburn Arts Centre last night, “where I’m not
playing anything but we’re all involved”. He stood
alone on the stage with his hands in the air as the
audience sang a simple melody. The guitar dangled
loose and silent, and for a moment everyone was

The Frames have often been described as the best live
band in Ireland, including U2. What they lack in 100ft
video screens and light shows they make up for in
camaraderie. They know their audience intimately, and
every time Frames gig feels like you’re at home with
your friends again. Even more so when Glen plays alone
to a small, packed, seated auditorium. He bantered
with the crowd, changed his set list to their whims,
told stories from his childhood and exchanged tips on
the best way to speak in a Northern accent.

Earlier in the day he had recorded an interview about
Van-the-man Morrison. “He’s the greatest man from your
part of the world!” Glen exclaimed before performing
another Van cover. He was on top form, his vocal range
stretching far and wide, singing with passion until
occasionally having a fit of the giggles. “I can’t
believe I just wrecked a perfectly intimate song” he
confessed after an impromptu end to what was meant to
be the very last tune of the night, but agreed with
the audience that he would have to do just one more.
Even that wasn’t the last, to a standing ovation he
brought his Czech friend on to sing Lenoard Cohen’s
Hallelujah completely unplugged on bended knee, very
much as Damien Rice ended many of his shows.

The comparisons between Glen and Damien grow
increasingly. The Dublin songwriters have toured
extensively together, use the same live tricks with
female backing singers, and now have co-written a
number of songs for a film; but Glen wasn’t meant to
say that. He drew mainly from the Frames glorious and
extensive back catalogue with a few covers thrown in
for good measure.

Every Frames gig is an amazing experience, and even
without the other three Frames, Glen still has
the charm and charisma to summon the magic that keeps
us coming back for more.

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