Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Swell Season blows Atlanta out of the water

From the moment Glen Hansard stepped out on stage, alone and unplugged, the audience was never the same. The lead singer then, without any into, started the show the way he started the movie, ONCE. With a powerful song titled Say it to me Now that would have the audience jaw dropped the rest of the show. There was no better way to open the show than to have Hansard with his beat up guitar, playing so hard and intense that the sound resonated the large theater and gripped your heart with the strong hand of his passion for music.

The Swell Season arrived at the Cobb Energy Theater on a tidal wave of international charm and musical genius. Just a year ago, Irishman Glen Hansard and Czech piano playing beauty Marketa Irgolva were on the big screen in the small budget film ONCE. Their band, The Swell Season, provided most tracks on the soundtrack and with their electric melodies, made the soundtrack and accompanying movie the Indie hit of the year and adopting an Oscar in the aftermath.

When the breath returned to the concert goers, Irglova then joined Hansard on stage for a few more songs familiar to the audience from the best-selling soundtrack. A fun surprise was the fact that Hansard's other band, The Frames, had joined them as the backup band and delivered with a solid thunder strike in the emotional Lies and incredible When Your Mind's Made Up. They introduced a few new songs, even switching instruments for an angelic Irglova sung I Have Loved Gone Wrong. When they returned to familiar soundtrack tunes, the shy Irish lad continued with another solo acoustic version of Leave, which again left the fans wanting more.

Because these singer/songwriters are so used to being under the radar, it is evident they are still trying to find their footing in the spotlight. Hansard tended to ramble on about subjects such as Irish divorce and the Pagan meaning of the word, all the while soliciting eye rolling and witty banter from his counterpoint in Irglova. He even tended to play into the stereotype of Irish storytellers by ending stories with life lessons in quotes like 'I may not be perfect but I'm dependable.' and 'A fool knows nothing, which is why he knows everything.'. This charm works for The Swell Season and is sure to keep their fan base solid, only continuing to grow in strength.

So if you haven't already, see the movie, listen to the soundtrack and buy tickets to a show. The Swell Season will sweep you up in electric lightning bolts of lyrics and whitecaps of melodic piano keys. Don't bring a raincoat, as you will want to feel every raindrop of emotion that the Swell Season brings with them.

But that just This Girl talking...