Gig night: The Swell Season

Hubby and I have very different tastes in music, but we share a love for anything funky, groovy or sometimes plain cheesy like Earth, Wind and Fire.  He listens to what I would describe as slit wrist music, while I reckon he thinks my type of music is yawn-inducing.

Hubby likes the movie Once, for its Oscar-winning soundtrack, and also for the scenery of his beloved Dublin.  The movie features one of his now favourite singers, Glen Hansard, of the Frames.  We saw the Frames perform at Vicar Street, Dublin on New Year’s Eve 2003.  They were great live, but their songs always left me feeling sad. Anything in a minor key does.  Back to the movie. Glen and his co-star, Marketa Irglova set up The Swell Seasons, and have been on a world-wide tour, and were stopping by in London for their second last gig.

We got tickets for their performance at The Royal Festival Hall last night.  Neither of us had been there before, and it was quite the venue with plenty of bars and cafes. The concert hall itself reminded me of an auditorium – I suppose I didn’t know what to expect.  I thought the boxed seats were quite cool though.

The support act was Ingrid Olava, a Norweigian musician who sang and played the piano beautifully. I admit I’d never heard of her before, but will definitely look out for her music.

The Swell Season came on at 8.30pm – the duo were supported by the musicians from the Frames. Notable songs were Low Rising, In These Arms, Paper Cup, Back Broke, When Your Mind’s Made up, and my favourite, Falling Slowly.  Marketa has an amazing, goose-bump inducing voice. I can’t remember which song it was, but her voice moved me to tears, and so powerful were the lyrics, they left me feeling very depressed at the end of the night.  Glen is a remarkable musician, with a hint of narcissism. There is no doubt that he has a powerful voice as he has no problems hitting the high notes.  When he plays the guitar, all you can see is a flash of his hand over the strings.  The last time I saw someone move his hand so quick was this dude on Masterchef Oz who had to whisk egg whites in an elimination challenge. He was better than a KitchenAid. I hope he has a good chiropractor, Glen, that is. They also had a guest singer, Sam Amidon, perform, who apparently is good mates with the band. I don’t know what his song was called, but it was very folky.  He now lives in London, so would be another act worth checking out.

I think Hubby had a good night, as this was one of his early birthday gifts.  The next gig to look forward to is Tom Baxter’s in a few weeks’ time, another one of Hubby’s favourite musicians. I’ll be going along as he is a bit of an eye-candy. Hubby, that is.

In Glen’s words, ‘there is no dog in this fight’. Go figure.


4 thoughts on “Gig night: The Swell Season

  1. I like Tom Baxter too (“Better” was our wedding song) – not in Glen’s class though. I thought it was a fantastic night. Ingrid’s songs were a bit forgettable – nice voice but don’t have high hopes for her.

    Glen – narcissism? Naaah. A man in his element loving his craft. Amazing handspeed on the guitar as you say.

    Sam Amidon! – was trying to remember him on the way home! Liked his song very much – akin to traditional Bob Dylan (e.g Barbara Allen).

    I’d love to have discovered Glen when they were supporting Damien Rice. What a combination. Melancholic sure, but all great singer songwriters are.

    • We saw Tom Baxter at the London Itunes Festival and Boogaloo about 2 years ago I think. Hubby is a big fan of Damien Rice too. Great choice for wedding song!

  2. Sounds like we might have a similar music library. My wife isn’t a fan of “slit-wrist music” but she came along and was v impressed. She’s more Nora Jones which is a little tawny for me.

    Now bought Sam Amidon album. He’s released 3 but will see how this one goes on the strength of Glens Blood on the Tracks comparison ( my face Dylan album).

    • Our wedding song was Al Green’s Let Stay Together – more my kind of music, but then I love a-Ha as well which is on the other end of the spectrum. I’m glad to hear your wife was impressed with the gig. It’s nice to have different tastes in music, as it keeps our music library varied and interesting, especially when we have parties.

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