The musical venues and artists around this country have been treated atrociously and the lack of a roadmap for opening up has put undue additional pressure on an industry that have had to endure more than their fair share of hardship. Despite that they continue to do whatever they can to put on events no matter what the unreasonable limitations placed upon them.
One such venue is the legendary Mike the Pies in Listowel who despite having their bar open, bizarrely can’t put bands on their stage, so they have taken to the roof and erected an open marquee to allow them to host a series of excellent line-ups throughout August and September. It’s a let’s say a cosy setting for both the acts and punters alike, but needs must in these trying times.
Tonight’s musical offering features not only one, but two performances from Cork indie legends – The Frank & Walters, with Paul and Rory delivering an early acoustic show that has clearly delighted the early show crowd, finishing with wonderfully stripped back renditions of After All and Kraftwerk’s The Model – featuring some extremely nimble guitar play from Rory.
A brief interlude allows a swap of congregation before One Morning in August take to the stage. With this being their first live show since the release of their excellent self-titled debut album there is a slight sense of nerves but those are quickly dispelled by ripping through recent single Get It Right along with the opening and closing tracks from the album – Amélie’s Theme & Anna’s Theme. The studio sound of One Morning in August is expansive but the duo of John Phelan and Stevie Byrne deliver a polished set, finishing with the sonically epic Reverb.
Then it’s time for the main attraction (again) looking resplendent in their tango flavoured shirts. They’re clearly delighted to be back in front of a live audience once more, instantly impressing with set openers Tony Cochrane and Landslide they are straight back in the groove. Of course for anyone whose ever seen The Franks in action the superb tunes are just one attraction, the other is the hilarious banter between Paul & Ashley which is worth the price of admission alone.
It’s a testament to the band that unlike some of their peers from their early days that not only do they remain mainstays of the live circuit but well into their third decade they are still producing exceptional material. And it’s two of their more recent tunes that get the first rapturous responses of the evening – Goddess of Athena and the majestic Stages, whilst How Can I Exist from ‘Grand Parade’ is probably the highlight of the entire night, a performance bursting with emotion.
It speaks volumes about The Frank & Walters catalogue of material that the expected crowd pleasers from feel good debut album ‘Trains, Boats and Planes’ are held back to towards the end of the set, and along with We Are the Young Men, Colours and a full band rendition of The Model are all greeted with joyful delight.
This evening of musical celebration is brought to a close with Indie Love Song sandwiched between two staples of the very early Frank And Walters sets from back in the day – Michael and final song of the night – We are the Frank & Walters – just in case there could be any doubt !!