I received a surprise call from a very good friend in Ireland this week, and it made me realize how much I miss the Irish culture, the pubs, the Guinness, hanging out with great friends, the craic, good-natured people, and the beautiful countryside. Heck, even Dublin, is a wonderful place to be.
Great memories flooded back in this auld head of mine. Thinking about all the excellent evenings spent with our friends and casual interactions with famous people. Life in Ireland is good.
I especially remember being invited to experience a locally well-known band at Whelan’s Pub in Dublin’s center – just a few blocks from St. Stephen’s Green.
The pub was packed to the rim. Back then we could smoke inside, so the air was filled with smoke, the smell of beer, and sweaty people. It was awesome.
Some of you know the lead singer, Glen Hansard, who won an Oscar some years ago for his song “Once”. He has made many excellent songs and can be seen playing late night in Grafton Street to surprised by-passers.
He was part of the band called The Frames, and that was the band we saw that summer evening in Whelan’s, with some good friends. Our friends knew the people working there, which allowed us a little more VIP experience – basically closer to the bar and stage.
If you haven’t come across The Frames, please check them out on YouTube or your favorite streaming music app.
Quick review – Excellent concert. Super music. Fantastic atmosphere. Cold Guinness.
The cool thing about seeing a local band is that most, if not all, people have actually met the band members. And, the band knew people and shouted out to them. It became a very personal concert, lasting several hours into the night; dancing, drinking, laughing, and singing.
Funnily enough, our friends managed to get us backstage after the concert. I was told to pretend to be a Danish music journalist – while my friend smirked at me. After the gig, we spent two hours standing along the walls in one of the rooms upstairs, hanging out with the guys from The Frames.
It was strangely odd and yet very cool. I got the chance to speak briefly with Glen Hansard, a very down-to-earth guy, and extremely friendly. We only chatted for 2-3 minutes, and I’m fairly sure he was well aware that I was not a music journalist.
That evening in Dublin was one of the greatest music experiences and was an excellent representation of the Irish 20 to 30-year-old people and how we celebrated life.