I got up early on Saturday and walked OJ before me and Tash got the bus to Belfast. It was great to see Margaret cos I hadn’t seen her in so long. We went for a drink in Auntie Annies, then bought food in Tescos and she cooked us a yummy dinner, which was accompanied by nice music and her drooling over a picture of Leonard Cohen (you had to be there!)
We got to the Opera house at 8 and met Fiona. Colm and the Hare’s Corner played first. For anyone who doesn’t know, Colm is the violin player in the frames. he recently released a solo instrumental album that I’d definitely recommend. The set was beautiful and i really could listen to that violin all day!
We met some friends and frames board people during the interval. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the gig, but when the Swell Season came on I was transfixed. The band featured frames members Glen, Colm, Joe and Rob, along with Marketa and Graham Hopkins. They played mostly songs from the Swell Season album and Once soundtrack, with a couple of frames tunes (which sounded great with piano in them) and a brilliant cover of astral weeks. Glen was very entertaining as usual, imitating the Belfast accent, and asking if the Ulster Hall was being refurnished or had it been blown up. My sides were sore laughing at one point.
A group of us went to Lavery’s after the gig, where some of us drank pints of fanta! Yum! I eventually got to sleep back at Margaret’s after being freaked out by all the teddies, but that’s another story. Mags you are a brilliant hostess really. Cheers!
On Sunday evening I took advantage of our guest list tickets and went to An Grianan with Laura. Thanks so much Claire for making it happen. Peter Delaney played as special guest this time. We only heard two songs but he sounded good. This gig had a similar set list, with an amazing version of Tim Buckley’s buzzing fly and a song from the Wickerman. Colm played a solo piece, accompanied by his imaginary band (the pedal!) There was a bottle of whiskey (thanks to Sandy from Atlanta) that got passed around onstage and then around the audience. Very entertaining! We were in the very back row so it had no chance of reaching us. The atmosphere and audience were much quieter than the previous night, but that’s one of the things I love about the theatre.
The Swell Season played for just over two hours. My parents came to collect us and took OJ, as he had been on his own for most of the day. There were lots of people waiting upstairs so we knew Glen and Marketa would come out. OJ got petted when we were waiting so that kept him happy. When they did come out everybody cheered. A really sound man let me skip the crowd and get some pictures. It was embarrassing at the time, but great because we would have had to wait for ages and we really didn’t have time.
Glen gave me a big bear hug. I always think when I meet him that I’m not going to start rambling about how brilliant the gig and the music was, but I can’t help it. He was just like “tanks. Tanks” and when I mentioned Belfast he was like “You went there too!” and did his Belfast accent. I’m not sure what he thought of my sarcastic sense of humour (which really has to stop) but he laughed anyway. He and Mar both petted OJ and were impressed with how gentle and quiet he was. I explained that he’s like a different dog when his harness is off. Glen: “Oh so he’s in work mode now then?” I told them he couldn’t come to the gig because he is afraid of drums, and that if they ever play in Cooldiscs again he could go. That is probably just wishful thinking. My mum congratulated them both before we left, and they were very humble and grateful.
This weekend was tough for personal reasons, and I had to go to a funeral today. There were times that I wasn’t sure if I would go to either or both gigs. I’m glad I did now. I think that’s part of the reason that meeting friends, new people and Glen and Marketa was extra special.
Say It To Me Now video from Belfast:
Belfast Set List:
Colm/The Hare’s Corner