Music Review--The Swell Season

Harmonies of voices and instruments filled the theatre, flowing through us and rising up to the ceiling. The piano, acoustic guitar, and violin became powerful communicators as strongly as the aching lyrics that completed each song.

Last night Steve and I saw The Swell Season in concert in Louisville. This is the Oscar-winning duo

I've talked about before

, Glen Hansard from Ireland and Marketa Irglova from the Czech Republic (so talented and only 20 years old!). Glen sings for the Irish band The Frames (who also joined them in concert), and both he and Marketa starred in the movie


. (It's another flick I highly recommend if you're into great music. The quality soundtrack is terrific.)

Wow! Can I say it again? Wow! First off, we sat in the FRONT ROW! I'm talking the front, front row. In this theatre (yes, I like spelling it that way!), they'd covered over the orchestra pit and put down three additional rows of chairs from the normal front row right up to the stage. Our knees practically touched the stage as we sat there. We were almost dead center. Funny that we didn't have to pull any strings to get such seats. Steve just happened to go online a few minutes before the advertised time that the tickets were to go on sale. These were the seats he was given when he placed the order. We got some amazing pics. I'm posting one here, and Steve's posting the rest on his blog (

Here are some other concert highlights:

The coolest moment of the night may have been the very beginning. Glen came out alone with his guitar (one he played all night and has played so hard that it has holes in it) and sat down on his knees at the very front edge of the stage, away from all microphones. He then sang "Say It To Me Now," belting out the words, his voice echoing throughout the room.

Another highlight: Steve and I both got to interact a little with these artists. Glen was funny in between songs and was telling some odd stories and metaphors for their songs. As he talked, he'd look down to his right, often making direct eye-contact with Steve. Steve made good nonverbal reactions as a good listener should! :) I smiled once during the concert at Marketa (she sat at the piano most of the night) and then at the end as we stood to applaud, I waved and said good job to her and she said thanks in reply.

I enjoyed seeing Glen and Marketa interact (see photo). He was fun and silly at times and chatted like he was just hanging out with the audience in a living room; she was shy and introverted (making her performance in the movie even more remarkable). They'd whisper between songs, deciding what to play next. She'd look at him each song for timing -- even songs they've played probably hundreds of times together, such as their famous "Falling Slowly." We'd just heard on a news story about them that they'd fallen in love as they'd played together and made the movie together. That knowledge made it even more sweet to watch them.

Such skill was present. Their playing and singing and songwriting was impressive. You could see their passion for music in every move they made. My appreciation for such musical talent and passion has grown over the years, and it was amazing to watch last night.