Ain’t Life Swell.
// I first learnt about Glen Hansard in the middle of 2007. One of his bands, The Frames, were supporting Bob Dylan on his Modern Times tour. I listened to some of their music and fell in love with it almost immediately. Falling Slowly was, simply put, one of the greatest songs I had ever heard.
This song would later be stripped back by Glen and used in his next musical endeavor, The Swell Season. Teaming up with Markéta Irglová, a Czech songwriter and musician, they wrote a self-titled EP in 2006. They later went on to star in the independent movie Once together. Although not technically a musical, Once was a vehicle for a number of performances for the duo. The film went from being a small independent Irish film to the little movie that could. It took home an Academy Award for Achievement in Music Written for a Motion Picture (Original Song), a Critics Choice Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award.
They recently released their third album together, Strict Joy. Receiving rave reviews, it reached 15 on the Billboard Charts.
I saw these guys at the start of 2009 in Melbourne at The Palais Theatre. Starting the show with an unplugged guitar and no microphone, Hansard strolled past the speakers and right to the very edge of the stage. He performed to the entire theatre without the use of any audio equipment and still managed to fill the entire space with his vocals and guitar. It was one of the best shows I had ever seen.
Last week, The Swell Season toured again in support of Strict Joy. Their tour reached Adelaide this time and they played to a sold out Thebarton Theatre. I was obsessed enough to have purchased front row seats and as a result given a sensational view for the evening. Starting the same way he did in Melbourne, he blew the entire Adelaide audience away from the very start. Both performers would take charge of different songs for the night, and they even tried their hand at an Empire Of The Sun cover. (It worked.)
When poking around for some clips after the concert, I stumbled across this video for one of their recent singles. Low Rising is the second single off Strict Joy, and the video is absolutely stunning. Like, can’t-look-away type brilliance. Check it.