Ionad Cois Locha or the Dunlewey Lakeside Centre is situated on the shores of Dunlewey Lough in the shadow of the haunting and mysterious Poison Glen and at the foot of Mount Errigal, the highest mountain in the county.
That was the venue for the Glen Hansard gig on Thursday, one of the most unique performances I have ever seen.
We arrived there an hour early hoping to get a cup of tea but they weren’t letting anyone in so we ended up going to the Seaview hotel.
The gig itself was held in a room that held about 200 people and was very packed. A staff member asked a guy I was with if I was blind, and then let us sit in the small balcony. This was brilliant because we had more space. Still, I can see why they told me it wouldn’t be a suitable venue for a guide dog, and it was so so hot!
Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Manus Lunny played for half an hour before Glen came on, and needless to say they were brilliant! A large part of the audience were probably there because of them, and didn’t know Glen or the frames music, which made the gig more unique.
During her introduction to Glen, Mairead described how she has known him since he busked on Grafton street, and always thought of him as a sensitive performer. It is obvious that he loves what he does, and she guaranteed the people who hadn’t seen him before that they wouldn’t be disappointed.
He played for almost two hours: a mixture of frames and swell season songs and a few snippets of covers inbetween. His stories and jokes kept everybody entertained and the room was silent as he sang. There were no electric guitars either. The audience sang along when he asked them too, and you could tell that everyone there was absorbed in the music. The highlight was when Lunny and Ni Mhaonaigh joined him on stage to sing ‘the auld triangle’, with Glen finding audience members to help out with some of the verses. It was amazing!
We met Glen as we were leaving. He begins the conversation with me by giving me a hug and chatting in his Northern Irish accent! I couldn’t resist taking a hand at him about a recent interview he did with Dan Hegarty on 2fm at Electric Picnic. He talked about how he met Stevie Wonder and ended up jamming with him. They sang the chorus of a song then Glen knodded over to Stevie to sing the next verse, then remembered “shit, he can’t see!” Of course I find stuff like this hillarius. We were interrupted by a girl with a dog (that’s another story!) and then he shouted “you have a great sense of humour” to me as I was going out the door.
Tickets went on sale the next morning for the frames 20th anniversary tour, so I got mine for Belfast. There’s at least ten people I know going so its going to be brilliant! Even a girl who didn’t know much about the frames until the Dunlewey gig texted me the next day to say she’d got tickets too. Nice one!
I haven’t done the performance justice by describing it here, but it was one of those things you had to see for yourself. One of those gigs that you know your never going to see again. Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh is organising a gig there once a month, and all of these are probably going to be special. It feels like your in a room of people you know because everyone is so relaxed. The people are there for the music, and the musicians aren’t there for the money. They are there because they share a strong bond through music.
I’m just delighted that I found great people to go with, and had the chance to see my favourite musician play in such a wonderful place.