Last night i got to see the Swell Season at the Keller Auditorium. The Swell Season consists of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie Once. I bought my ticket (one ticket) at the presale because i knew i couldnt miss this opportunity. They were the real deal and for crying out loud they won an Oscar! I never lost that energy and after a sleepless night the big day arrived! I ate a quick bite and drove down an hour early…yes. I also didnt even hesitate and parked in the rockstar garage for $6., such luxury!
The crowd was great and so totally diverse. there were full length gowns and elderly people in wheelchairs and parents with their kids. it was fun people watching.
I got a t shirt which said very simply on the back
“hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are”
The opening band consisted of 2 gentlemen Rónán Ó Snodaigh and Liam Ó Maonlaí from hothouse flowers. These two were Hansard’s “mentors” when he was a street musician and having them open, and join the rest of his band off and on throughout the night, was like having his teachers perform with him. And they were fantastic, adding a very traditional Irish bend to the whole thing, in both what songs they performed and what instruments they played. They were also 2 of the most humble men who really loved their music more then anything else. It was so casual. Liam ended up sitting in the audience right in front of me with a couple of friends and every once in awhile he would pop up and run onto the stage and start playing with the band.
Along with the other magnificent musicians in his band, Glen and Marketa invited a guy named Joseph they had met on a walk earlier that day to come on stage and sing. He looked to be about 16 and belted out Brandi You’re a Fine Girl with full jam back up of the band and a standing ovation. It was just that kind of night.
i could yammer on and on about all the details. Each song began with a story. Some of the stories were longer then the songs and each had the bite of bittersweet humor. There is one story i will relay here. He said This is a song about when you hit the ball and you hope it makes it across the yard but this one goes across the yard over the fence into the next town and past the river and you are thinking WOW did i really hit that ball and at the same time you think, i want my ball back. Then they played their most famous oscar winning song Falling Slowly. I thought what a lovely way to describe what did really become their wonder ball. They had us clapping, whistling, whispering…i should add none of us really had it spot on but no one seemed to care. Glen just thought that made it all the better. He told us, remember, You are always right! we sounded like a cage full of demented canaries at one point. Marketa remained the quiet sharp focused and gentle woman she has presented to us and all the musicians finished with Into the Mystic. It made me a little teary and i dont think i was alone.
I found a copy of this online. So FUN!
Oh and he really does play his well-loved guitar with the huge worn hole in it .
I didnt want the night to end.