Vicar Street, Dublin
SEVERAL years ago The Frames struck artistic pay-dirt when they gave up trying to write a hit and embraced the chaotic beauty of avant-garde rock.
Immediately, the Dublin band became a more interesting proposition, a sort of folk-tinged, raggle-taggle Radiohead.
The irony, of course, was that, the moment they turned their backs on a mainstream audience, The Frames achieved massive popularity, and not just in Ireland.
They can also count on a burgeoning fanbase in America, where there is a traditional weakness for groups which deal in heightened emotions. The fact The Frames have a violin player probably helps - or, at any rate, distinguishes them from Coldplay.
Half a decade on, it is a measure of how far The Frames have progressed that a concert largely dedicated to road-testing new material draws a capacity audience. Sometimes, the recently finished songs cling fervently to what by now sounds like a formula, one that is unashamedly earnest and occasionally uplifting.
To many, The Frames (below) may appear to be a vehicle for their frontman, Glen Hansard. That isn't quite true and probably has to do with the fact that, while his bandmates resist the limelight, he at least tolerates it.
Hansard's ragged, heartfelt voice sits at the centre of the new stuff. 'On No More I Love You', he whispers, then screams, as the rest of The Frames encourage their instruments to portentously howl and shriek. Until this moment, the crowd has been chatty and even a little irreverent. Now, they hold themselves eerily still, smitten to the core.