Add to Google

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Mostly Entertainment

entertainment ave!
Read our stuff.

 

  Home    -    Our Blog   -    Our Podcast   -   The Concert Hall    -   The Movie Theater    -   In Your House    -   Stu & The Dude    -   The Alley    -   Mail Us!    -   The Office


Related links at Entertainment Ave!
Concert Reviews:
None yet.

CD Reviews:
None yet.

Movie Reviews:
Once

Other Links:
www.theswellseason.com
MySpace: The Swell Season

The Frames
MySpace: Brendan O'Shea

The Swell Season
w/ Brendan O'Shea

A Concert Review

June 18, 2008

The Chicago Theatre

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
When I told Stu Gotz about my going to see "The Swell Season" with my BFF, he simply seemed perplexed at who they were. So I explained to him that they are comprised of the duo from the movie "Once," among other members, and he replied back, "Oh, that should be nice. What, are they playing Schubaís (a 200 capacity venue in Chicago) or someplace like that?" Imagine the stunned look on his face when I told him I was seeing them at the beautiful Chicago Theatre, on the third and final night of a sold-out stint. Iím not sure why Stu was so shocked, I mean they are Academy Award winners after all, and as much as I keep impressing on Stu, or anyone I can, to put the movie "Once" high in his Netflix queue, Iím guessing if he had seen the movie he would start to understand their appeal, and knowing Stu, he would also really like the music.

But, if you have seen "Once," and if you really like the music from the movie, the concert experience for "The Swell Season" expands on that appreciation a hundred-fold.

So, my BFF and I make our way to our seats and out comes the opening act, a solo Brendan OíShea, who makes it known that he really likes Chicago, which, of course, goes over well for the crowd, and then he proceeds to do a great job of being in awe of playing in front of 3,500+ people, yet still giving a performance with the intimacy of a coffee house. This he accomplished with some witty banter between Irish-tinged folk songs, and I apologize if I screw up some of the song titles, but I really enjoyed "Steps" (with some nice crowd participation simply via humming), "Sunday Summer Parade," "Smoke," and the quaint "Waiting Rooms." The crowd seemed to really like him, and I was only bummed because I didnít get a chance to pick up one of his CDís he was selling out in the lobby, especially since he mentioned he had some copies of AC/DC for sale (if you see him, you get the joke)! Itís Two Thumbs Up for Brendan OíShea, and Iíll be sure to put his name on my music radar.

But this crowd was there to see "The Swell Season," (well, except for maybe the girl a few chairs down from me who seemed to do a lot of texting during the show), but the lights went down and out came Glen Hansard, solo, acoustic, doing "Say It To Me Now," in the same way you might have seen him on a street corner many years ago. Then Marketa Irglova came out to help with "All the Way Down," and finally the rest of the band comes out as "Lies" helped develop the evening into a night of songs you might only know from the "Once" soundtrack, mixed with others that range from songs from The Frames, a Van Morrison cover, and a big olí sing-a-long that an old dude wanted no part of.

So the night continued, with songs like "Moon," a fantastical version of "When Your Mindís Made Up" (probably my favoritist song from the movie), and Marketa in full "shyness" mode yet doing a fine job with her new song "I Loved You Wrong," which I found had too much bass going on but loved the ending of the song. Then, of course, came the song everyone was waiting for, yet a tad bizarre. Yup, Glen went into a story about selling your child, or creating a child and letting it go, how they are still amazed at the response, etc., and they broke into "Falling Slowly." But then Glen got confused about the words, referenced Barack Obama being at the show (although Iím still trying to get clarification of this fact, however, it seems most fans of "The Swell Season" are fans of Senator Obama in any case), and standing ovations were all around!

Presidential candidate possibly attending aside, in his introduction for "Lay Me Down," Glen reflected on his being a teenager, wanting to be a singer, being fascinated with "Freaks & Geeks," and a sweet story how he was trying to impress a girl, took her to the cemetery, and asked "Would you be buried beside me?", which made for lots of "Ohhhhs" from the crowd. But sentimental feelings were quickly put aside as only one word can describe Glen Hansardís cover of Van Morrisonís "Astral Weeks," and that word is "Damn!"

So a couple of the previous songs were Glen, all alone on the stage, but then the band returned for, what Glen said, would be a song that they had never played live before, and the cheesy-keyboard backing track led into a fun version of "Fallen from the Sky," but a new song, "Happiness," put Glen in full "conductor" mode, recreating a Tarot Card "Fool," and "Once" finished out the main set.

Encore time (though sort of more a short, second set), brought Matketa lovingly, singing "If You Want Me," Colm MacConlomaire, the violin dude, getting a solo stint "putting together his own band," and I really liked "Fitzcarraldo," an older song from Glenís days with The Frames, but a new song for me.

And what better way to end a great night of music than with a sing-a-long, and for this night Glen, Marketa, and the boys in the band brought out "The Auld Triangle," even bringing up an older dude from the audience to help with the sing-a-long, but given his chance to skedaddle, said older dude got out of Dodge, or at least off of the stage, as quick as could be when Glen turned his back, but thatís okay because the crowd loved it, Glen loved it, and the crowd easily picked up on their part, namely, "And that old triangle went jingle jangle, Along the banks of the Royal Canal."

So, a night of Irishness came to a close, (Okay, fine Jackie Moonís "Love Me Sexy" isnít exactly Irishness, but that was the song the soundboard folks pumped through the speakers as the crowd, myself, and my BFF, filtered out of the theater Ė Kudos to you soundboard dudes!) and a great night of Irishness it was!

I think you can gather from the review that I thought the music was great, but the other, interesting thing about the night was Glen trying to explain a lot of the songs, although sometimes I still have no idea what he was talking about. For example, his ramblings about the song "Moon" still have me scratching my head, but that doesnít matter because I think that is really part of the charm of Glen, and Marketa for that matter, in that, even with the success they have had, they still seem shocked, amazed, and humbled, by the support their fans are giving them.

I canít speak for my BFF, although I should probably have asked her what thumb rating she would be giving the show, but I loved every soft moment, I loved every crescendo, and even though some of the stories about the songs didnít make sense, might have been disjointed, and who in the hell did Sam like on "Freaks & Geeks?", "The Swell Season" re-reminded me of the many reasons I love going to concerts. Itís TWO HUGEMOUNGOUS THUMBS UP! for The Swell Season.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

Copyright © 1996-2010 EA Enterprises, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
www.entertainmentavenue.com
eavenue@entertainmentavenue.com