herald

Thursday 23 October 2014

It's too much, too late, Glen

I'VE always been tempted to send the Hansard fella a few taxi receipts. Whenever he's in town, I almost always miss the last bus home. And Monday night was no exception. See, Glen Hansard loves a good party, and it is, after all, the season of goodwill.

The fans are in great form. Every member of The Frames is on stage. And Glen is in no mood to leave us without having played everything he can remember. More bang for your buck, he reckons. But after 190 minutes of bang, crash and Liam O Maonlai's bare feet, I'm just about ready to punch another hole in Glen's favourite guitar.

Let's get things straight -- this was an outstanding gig ... for the first two hours. A gorgeous display of moody folk swings (Philander, Leave) and old rock favourites (Santa Maria), topped off by a sublime vocalist and guitarist that has lost none of his wit or, indeed, passion for storytelling, Glen's 'solo' return to Irish shores is more a coming together of new and existing (musical) family members to celebrate the man's lifework.

Twist

He's still telling us about the time he did this, that and whatever else it took to find the perfect groove. But Glen Hansard: Aspiring Funnyman is part and parcel. There are a lot of musicians on stage, and those eloquent brass arrangements add a deliciously soulful twist to proceedings. In short, Glen and his cohorts play a blinder. And then it gets weird.

Fair enough, Glen inviting his talented niece on stage for a boisterous rendition of This Gift was an excellent move. But bringing Mundy on for a sing-song so close to midnight?

Ah, Glen. Asking a dazed Hothouse Flower to take a seat behind a keyboard for some embarrassing moments as Gaeilge? We're bleedin' wrecked, man. Parading into the crowd for a haphazard cover of The Auld Triangle? You should have stopped at Heyday. Or the Leonard Cohen cover.

On and on it goes, with Outspan seemingly determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

He also appears incapable of turning his back on applause for fear that he may never get the chance to hear it again, thus doing what Glen Hansard almost always does in these situations. Yep, the poor chap spoils it. Pity ...

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