Supported by up-and-coming Irish band The Marbles, Cork’s finest took to the stage amid the customary football chant of “We are we are we are we are we are The Frank and Walters” from the hardcore fans, many of whom have been to every gig this band has played for several years now. Faces in the audiences are now familiar.
What ensued was a well-judged mix of old and new material, from Fashion Crisis Hits New York and After All to Underground and the excellent 6 Becomes 9. The new album, Glass, is a rather more sedate affair than we’ve been used to from The Franks, but it translates well to a live setting. New York was as worthy an inclusion as Underground and as many people were moving to the beat.
Professionally captivating the audience with his sheer exhiliration of being on stage again, vocalist and bassist Paul Linehan wryly suggested that the audience move back and cease hogging his limelight; this limelight had taken him ten years to achieve.
Then he remembered brother Niall and co-writer Ashley had been after it for that long as well, and they each got individual applause from the partisan audience. With Sarah returning on keyboard duties and backing vocals and Ashley adding electronic percussion and synth effects (backing tracks laid down before the gig), the musical tapestry was perhaps more complete on this night than it has been at any other time in The Franks’ stage career.
London was a richer place for having welcomed The Franks back to play again; let’s hope it isn’t a year before we can do it all again.