Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Swell Season - Baltimore

Last night I went to see the swell season. WOW.
Now Adam Levy has said, "GO OUT AND LISTEN TO MUSIC" as a way to become a better musician. And, for me, he doesnt need to say THAT twice. :)

Glen Hansard was en fuego. The whole band was actually.
At one point, Hansard mentioned how Ramshead Live looks like a jail and then, within a couple of seconds he was grabbing the chords in his head for Jailhouse Rock and then he's goin nuts on stage singin jailhouse rock for 2 minutes along with band. And, one thing I did notice was that when he launched into this raucously fun time, Pianist, Marketa Irglova sat back, "letting the boys have their fun" and then they picked up where they left off with their set.
Being about Hansard's age, I caught the jailhouse rock and he also added a couple of other gems (references) during the music interludes of their songs with - CALL ME (Blondie) and LOVE REIGN O'ER ME (The WHO) which had everyone laughing. (Is it me or does this foto kinda make you feel like you need the movie 28 days later to come out with a 3rd installment :)
The kinda things that bring down an experience of a live show are "the talkers" - they ramble on during the opening act and he just ran thru his set list. I mean literally. It was sad - he didnt stop between songs unless he needed to change guitars and each song just melted into the other without distinction...just chuggin through like an express train...sure the stops are there...and the people look at the train going thru....and they wonder why isnt it stopping. Is this how opening acts are in large venues (~500-600 folks)
So, the opener plays for about an hour and then we waited for the swell season to come onstage for about 35 the venue time to get people to buy more fluids....and then, when they arrive, they rush onto the stage and go right into a song to get things started.

Being around great live music is important to my soul and the $35 ticket + $10 for fees and other crap (like the ability to print my own ticket on my own printer- SHEEEESH!) was worth the price of admission...especially when you figure that other shows for this band, the tickets are twice as much or more.

The critic in me says that Mar may be a little stiff on stage and quiet personality wise on stage, but the poignant, emotionally driven songs between she and Hansard would seriously lack what drives them without her. And, kudos for having her front and center for a few songs as well as during the encore.
And here's a token full band shot...sorry for the 2 backs, but that was my vantage point for the show.