Concert Review: The Swell Season

Artist: The Swell Season

Date: May 7, 2008 8pm

Opening Act: Damien Dempsey

Venue: Orpheum Theater

City: Minneapolis, MN

Well, it’s sure been awhile since I’ve been out to a show. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I used to see live music all the time. I mean ALL the time. Like 4 nights a week. I’m older now I guess. And also lame.

Anyway, I got a wild hair and ordered tickets to The Swell Season. I loved the film, “Once” and cried happy tears when Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won an Oscar for their great song from the film. So I figured it’d be a pretty good live show.

I had no idea.

First of all it was sold out. A pretty good sized theater I might add. So the crowd was excited and happy and made for a really great energy in the “room” (I use the term carefully as the “room” is ginormous).

I was with my hubby, my bestest gf, and a musician friend of mine who happened to be visiting and the 4th ticket became free at the last minute so he was able to join us. Whoo.

Sometimes I tend to go to a concert late because I don’t really care to hear the opener, but there have also been times when I have been very pleasantly surprised with an artist I had never heard of before (Paula Cole, opening for Sarah McLachlan, anyone?) So we tried to see as much of Damien Dempsey as we could. I think we maybe only missed one song. He was fabulous!

He’s got a great gravelly voice (both speaking and singing) and an accent that took some time to get used to. He sang great, powerful folky songs with lots of meaning. A real treat.

After a short break Glan Hansard appeared on stage alone. He walked to center stage in front of the microphone and sang “Say it to Me Now” unplugged and unmic’ed. The crowd went nuts.

After that Marketa came out and helped him tune his guitar and they went into “All the Way Down”.

I’m not going to go into every song, this is long enough as is. But I did want to say that Glen is a fabulous story teller. He told this amazing story about a psychic (for lack of a better word) couple that they know. She was able to connect, via her husband, with a couple of kids who had died a very long time ago and she was able to help set their spirits free. It was lovely. There were many references later to ghosts who may or may not be in the room with us, dancing across the stage. For me loving ghosts, this was totally cool.

He also got a little long winded and, I may add a little obsessed, with making us understand the difference between the head and the heart. He was trying to explain how they are constantly in conflict. I think everyone got it, but he kept coming back to this and it pretty much became a joke.

The rest of the band was pretty amazing as well, in particular the violinist. At one point most of the band took a break and left him on stage to do a solo number. He was using a loop station and the thing was not behaving. He’d record part one, then try to add part two to it and part one would crap out. He must have tried it 6 times. Finally it worked and it was pretty incredible.

When the rest of the band came back out to join him, Hansard said “That’s the problem with asking ghosts to join you on stage, they fuck with your pedals.”

There was something going on there, I don’t know if it was ghostly or just adoration, but it was a really cool feeling.

Great show, great night.

Set list

Set list:
Say it to Me Now
All the Way down
This Low
Drown Out
When Your Mind’s Made Up
I Have Loved You Wrong
Falling Slowly
What Happens When the Heart Just Stops
Lay Me Down
The Model
If You Want Me
Blue Shoes
Star Star
The Auld Triangle

[Swell Season/The Frames Official Site]

[Buy Swell Season at Amazon]

[Buy Once Soundtrack at Amazon]

Thanks to you can download this concert [here]

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