Thursday, June 19, 2008

Review: The Swell Season - Chicago Theatre, June 17, 2008

.....This is a GUEST BLOG From "Marcus " at Hand on Mouth . For the full review from Marcus CLICK HERE !

To paraphrase Lin Brehmer from WXRT, you know when you discover a band or a piece of music, maybe a film, and you feel like you're the only person who could possibly, truly get it? And you so want to share it with anyone and everyone who might show a passable interest, while at the same time letting them know at every instance that it's "yours" , and "you" knew before anyone else? Like a pride of ownership. And once the popularity builds, you feel like you just want to say it louder and more often that you dicovered it "first"...but you feel like you've lost a little piece of the art to the masses? Well, here you go, general public...I give you The Swell Season. Enjoy.

Last evening, the duo of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova played the second performance of a sold-out Chicago Theatre three-night stand. And 3,500 of "us" collectively held our breath in wondrous amazement as willing accomplices, witnessing their run through an awe-inspiring two hour set of not only music from their film, "Once," but also cover songs and impeccably performed stripped down versions of songs from Glen's main gig (and the night's backing band), The Frames.

From the moment Glen walked out onto the stark, blue and yellow light-bathed stage with his well-worn guitar, kicking off the night with a "Hey, how's it going?" before the band launched into "Trying," you just knew: this was a night for people who loved the pure art of listening to music performed by real musicians. With real instruments. Artists who genuinely felt lucky - nay, privileged - to be able to share their craft with people who loved their art as much as they did. There's a time and place for shiny, manufactured glitter pop and contrived sing-alongs (I love those songs as much as anyone), but this night wasn't it.

"Lies" was typically chest-swelling in it's majestic sweep of loud/soft dynamics, and the audience hung on every note of the warmth in Colm Mac Con Iomairem's violin. Marketa's voice rose about and weaved in and out from Glen's, sometimes sitting on top of his, sometimes providing the cushion to ease off the rough edges of his lyrical disappointments and regret.

Stretching the chorus out slightly more so than the recorded version, the words hung in the air almost precariously, then reigned back in, giving added emotional weight to a song that already sends this writer to an uncharacteristically mushy-hearted place inside. Throughout much of the night's performance, the theater got deathly quiet, and you could almost hear the audience smiling through the silence between notes. It continued with "The Moon,", and a spacey violin weaving in and out of locomotive charging acoustic power, just before the bottom dropped out in and Left the audience almost gasping in it's loud/soft dynamics.

Both he and Mar took center spotlight for “When Your Mind’s Made Up” and completely nailed the emotional ballast of this song. Just epic in it’s grandeur and primal feel. I honestly thought at this point, we would all have witnessed the last performance of his road-weary guitar, he nearly wore another hole through it. Perfect.

Wow. Amazing. A brilliant night, and one of the most memorable shows one could hope to witness. If you'd like to download the show (legally and artist sanctioned, I might add), go here

The Swell Season, June 17th, 2008
Chicago Theatre

“The Moon”
“When Your Mind’s Made Up”
“Seven Day Mile”
“Drown Out”
“I Have Loved You Wrong”
“Falling Slowly”
“Say It to Me Now”
"Broken-Hearted Hoover-Fixer Sucker Guy"
"What Happens When The Heart Just Stops?"
“Buzzin' Fly” (Tim Buckley cover)
“Go With Happiness”
“Into the Mystic” (Van Morrison cover)
“The Hill
“If You Want Me”
“Star Star”

1 comment:

Chicago Gal said...

Thanks for the great review. I went to the show on Wednesday night and was equally thrilled and I got that same poster too.