September 26, 2008

Concert Review: The Swell Season

Last Friday, Jessica & I celebrated our 8-year friend-iversary with a pizza/beer/concert date. We met for dinner at Sicilia’s, which is the site of our first real bonding session, following our first ever college party – if college parties involve many foreign exchange students and martinis. (This is a party we now refer to as the “Russian Party” – it probably would have been cleverer to call it the Romanov Party.) Never again in college did we attend such a bizarre party, so it’s perfect that that one was our first. And it marked the first of many bonding sessions involving food and booze.

Okay, so the concert! Was amazing!

The acoustics were kind of terrible – occasionally it sounded like there was a screeching microphone going crazy behind the stage. Also, it was freezing. I honestly don’t know if that had anything to do with the hockey ice beneath the floor, but I kind of wanted to die. So, in general – hockey arenas = non-ideal settings for concerts. But they really overcame all those handicaps and put on a heartwarming show.

The opening acts were both enjoyable, even though neither introduced themselves. Having completed some research, I realize that perhaps I should have known who Patty Griffin was. But I’m going to need you to at least tell us your name when you come out – I’m probably more musically informed than 50% of the crowd of double-dating couples over the age of 60 there and I didn’t recognize any of your songs that have not previously been performed by the Dixie Chicks.

Once the Swell Season came on, things really got rocking. Marketa is totally tiny, and she spoke very little – Glen Hansard is definitely the face and mouth of this band (hopefully not that relationship too?). They performed most of the songs from 'Once,' a few old Frames songs and two new songs that sounded amazing. At one point, they brought up a busker who they (and we!) had passed on the street on the way in, and had him play a song, after which, Glen said “He was really fu**in’ good, eh?” It was pretty adorable.

The best part of the show is that it was obvious throughout the full hour+ how happy they were to be there. How fortunate and overwhelmed they have been with their success. They said thank you (actually, “tanks”) after every song, and never once did it seem insincere. I felt warm and fuzzy, especially when Marketa came out for the encore and sang 2 songs by herself. I am not sure a more quietly beautiful song than “The Hill’ exists.

In conclusion, 10 Twix bars! I hope The Swell Season stops touring soon so they can work on a new full album. In the meantime, I’ll work on expanding into a The Frames fan.