Have you seen the awesome Indie film Once? The sweet story, the wonderful lyrics, the humor and the unlikely heroes simply drags you in and leaves you wanting more at the end. Two lonely people searching for a touch, a connection, and finding it in the most unlikely way. A viral success, the music so touched people the song “Falling Slowly” won this year’s Academy Award for Best Song.
The film’s stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are now touring with a group of talented musicians as the group The Swell Season. We attended one of their 3 sold-out concerts in Chicago last weekend, and they rocked the Chicago Theatre for 2 hours with songs from the film, new music, and Irish ballads. The very varied mix of people in the audience (from twenty-somethings to families to couples to seniors to musicians to button-downs) were entertained by Hansard’s humor, Irglova’s shy words with the people, and the musical ranges from mellow to raucous, especially a rendition of an old Van Morrison tune.
Hansard talked about how Chicago has always been supportive of his music, and regaled us with tales and meanings behind the songs. I sometimes felt as if I was in a jam session, their conversations were so informal. I was brought back to being in a pub in Ireland hearing folk singer Christy Moore play, the audience enraptured with every song.
Their amazing fiddle player Colm Mac Con Iomaire played a solo from his new disk. Then The Swell Season’s final encore number was played without microphones, the band first getting the auditence to join in, then making their way through the aisles.
We need more beautiful, thoughtful music like they wrote and played–be it their melancholy sounds, their solos, their duets, or full-force rock sounds of the entire group. C