Belfast has been blessed with the most glorious weather of late, as the summer holidays are on the horizon for many the current weather is good, great for the soul.
What other way to spend an evening as fine as this in the company of friends in the majestic Botanic Gardens watching two of Ireland’s finest bands, The Frames and the highly rated, A Lazarus Soul.
It’s an early start and the heat of the sun can still be felt on our backs as A Lazarus Hope takes to the stage, onlookers dapple around the park soaking up the rays as the dark ambient vibes pour out of the PA as the band finds their groove.
One of Dublin’s most talked about bands A Lazarus Soul is a thought-provoking band that both sonically and intelligently challenges the senses with their highly charged songwriting, hard-hitting lyrics all softened by the melodic charm on display.
It is understandable why this band is so highly thought of, immediately engaging with the audience, pulling them into their world full of sonic soundscapes and intriguing melodic charm. In an era dominated by digital streaming platforms and virtual concerts, there are still bands that thrive on the raw energy and intimate connection of live performances.
One such band is the Irish group, A Lazarus Soul. With their distinct sound and powerful stage presence, A Lazarus Soul has become a force to be reckoned with in the live music scene of 2023. Formed in Dublin in the late ’90s, A Lazarus Soul consists of Brian Brannigan (vocals, guitar), Joe Chester (guitar), Julie Bienvenu (bass), and Anton Hegarty (drums).
Their music is a blend of alternative rock, post-punk, and indie folk, creating a sonic landscape that is both haunting and heartfelt. Drawing inspiration from their Irish roots, the band weaves poignant storytelling with evocative melodies, capturing the essence of the human experience.
A Lazarus Soul’s live performances are known for their electrifying energy and emotional depth. From the moment they step on stage, the band members create an atmosphere that holds the audience in rapt attention. Brian Brannigan’s distinctive vocals convey raw emotion and vulnerability, while the tight-knit interplay between the musicians forms a sonic tapestry that envelops the listeners.
The band’s chemistry is palpable, and their passion for their craft shines through every note. Each member brings their unique talents to the forefront, resulting in a cohesive and dynamic performance. From Chester’s intricate guitar work to Hegarty’s thunderous drumming, every element combines to create a sonic journey that resonates with the audience on a visceral level.
A Lazarus Soul has released several critically acclaimed albums over the years, each adding depth and breadth to their live repertoire. From their early works like “Backwaters and Social Chameleons” and “Through a Window in the Sunshine Room” to their more recent offerings like “Last of the Analogue Age” and “The D They Put Between the R & L,” their discography reflects the band’s evolution and growth.
Their live performances often include a carefully curated selection of songs from their catalog, creating a musical experience that spans their entire career.
From anthemic crowd favorites to introspective ballads, A Lazarus Soul’s setlist is designed to take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, leaving them breathless and yearning for more. What sets A Lazarus Soul apart as a live entity is their ability to connect with the audience on a profound level.
Brannigan’s introspective and thought-provoking lyrics strike a chord with listeners, evoking a range of emotions and creating a sense of shared experiences.
The band’s live shows are intimate and personal, making every member of the audience feel like a part of a larger, collective journey. In an age where live music experiences are often diluted by large arenas and impersonal performances, A Lazarus Soul remains committed to creating an immersive and genuine connection with their fans. Whether it’s through Brannigan’s introspective stage banter or the band’s willingness to meet and interact with concert-goers after the show, A Lazarus Soul ensures that their live performances are more than just a spectacle—they are an experience to be cherished.
A Lazarus Soul has carved out a unique space in the live music scene of 2023 with their distinct sound, captivating stage presence, and ability to forge genuine connections with their audience.
Through their poignant storytelling, powerful performances, and unwavering passion, the band continues to breathe life into the live music experience.
If you have the opportunity to witness A Lazarus Soul perform, be prepared for an unforgettable journey that will leave you with a renewed appreciation for the power of live music.
A short but sweet introduction for the Belfast crowd this evening but an impression was made none the less and much like the very first time I caught The Frames live, I will remember this introduction for many years to come. A great start to the evening and the night is still young.
I am thinking back to the first and only time I saw The Frames live, The Empire Music Hall many, many years ago and it was a gig I have never forgotten, mesmerised by the passion resonating from that stage, the magical soundscapes created and I was sold, tonight has been a long time coming.
So a few minutes after 8 pm the band take to the stage, all six members come to the front to break into the opening number ‘Lay Me Down’ a slow burner as Glen Hansard wears a mask of sorts adding further intrigue to an already The crowd surges forward and the party is about to get started.
The doors are kicked off the hinges with the second track of the night as the band has found their rhythm and the energy in the arena is building with the song reaching its crescendo, the Belfast crowd is right there ready for more.
No rest for the wicked and the third track of the night kicks in with blistering effect, a hard-hitting number with a pummelling baseline, gnarly guitars thrashing with the melodic run of the violin throughout and Glens powerhouse vocals raising the bar.
It’s like their own “Kashmir” beating the crap out of the audience with its glorious crashing riffage and as I look around guys are air drumming, air guitaring far and wide and Belfast is loving it with every bone in their body.
For over three decades, the Irish band The Frames has captivated audiences around the world with their electrifying live performances. Known for their passionate and emotive music, The Frames have earned a reputation as one of the most revered and influential bands to emerge from Ireland.
As we step into 2023, the band’s live presence continues to thrive, enchanting fans old and new. Let’s explore why The Frames remain an infamous live entity and the enduring impact they have on the music scene. Formed in Dublin in 1990, The Frames, led by the charismatic Glen Hansard, have crafted a unique sound that defies categorization.
Blending elements of alternative rock, folk, and indie, their music weaves heartfelt lyrics with compelling melodies, evoking a range of emotions that resonate deeply with listeners. The band’s ability to seamlessly transition between delicate introspection and explosive catharsis makes their live performances a truly captivating experience.
At the heart of The Frames’ live performances is the magnetic presence of Glen Hansard. With his soulful voice, impassioned delivery, and raw vulnerability, Hansard effortlessly commands the stage, drawing the audience into his world.
His ability to connect with the crowd on an intimate level is unparalleled, making each performance feel like an intimate gathering among friends. Hansard’s passion is palpable, and his sheer energy fuels the band’s dynamic performance.
Whether he’s strumming his guitar with fervor or pouring his heart out through his lyrics, he leaves no stone unturned in his quest to deliver a mesmerizing live experience.
The Frames’ extensive discography provides a treasure trove of songs for their live shows. From their early albums like “Another Love Song” and “Fitzcarraldo” to their later releases such as “For the Birds” and “The Cost,” their setlists are a carefully curated blend of fan favorites and deep cuts. The band’s live performances take the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
They seamlessly transition from energetic, anthemic tracks that ignite the crowd’s fervor to quieter, introspective ballads that hush the venue with poignant introspection. Each song is a testament to the band’s ability to craft music that speaks to the depths of the human experience.
Beyond the music itself, The Frames foster a unique connection with their audience. Their live performances feel like a collective experience, where fans become part of something larger than themselves.
Hansard’s engaging stage banter, his willingness to share personal stories, and the band’s genuine interactions with the crowd create an atmosphere of authenticity and camaraderie. The Frames’ concerts are a celebration of music’s power to unite people.
Through their performances, they create a sense of community, where strangers become friends, and the shared love for their music binds everyone together. As we venture into 2023, The Frames remain an infamous live entity.
Their concerts continue to be a testament to the enduring power of live music. With their soul-stirring melodies, impassioned performances, and a connection that transcends the stage, The Frames remind us why the live music experience is irreplaceable.
Whether you are a long-time fan or discovering their music for the first time, witnessing The Frames in a live setting is an experience that will resonate long after the final note fades away.
So, if you have the opportunity to attend one of their shows, prepare to be moved, uplifted, and forever changed by the remarkable artistry of The Frames. A glorious return to Belfast in the most beautiful setting, the sun on our backs creating the most euphoric atmosphere, Belfast you turned up tonight.
Review by Mark Mc grogan
Photography by Darren Mcveigh for MPM