The Swell Season

Verily, I say unto you, I have never been to a better concert than The Swell Season, November 20th, Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA.  I hadn't listened to the new CD, Strict Joy, so had worried a bit that the show may be slightly boring, based on their single, "In These Arms," which is quite mellow and quiet.  I wanted to go, though, since I love the music from Once so very, very much.  I warned Seth that it may just be a concert where we are a little snoozy, but we hear beautiful music, so it's "nice."

Oh, I was so wrong. As soon as Glen & Mar came on stage, I was ridiculously happy.  There is something magical (yes, I said, "magical") about hearing in person music that you love so much, especially when it's from a movie.  It feels extra-special or strange to see the people & hear the songs.  So I was grinning like an idiot and felt, well, buoyant when they started singing.  "In These Arms" was touching and lovely, and was already a little teary during, "If You Want Me," which was the 2nd song.

They sang the first few songs sitting on the ground together, then she went over to the piano, and he eventually brought out his band, The Frames, who I also love.  As you may know, but I had forgotten, things are always a little more loud and rowdy in person, so even the slower songs were more powerful live, and they were definitely rocking sometimes.

For a small set, the guys from The Frames and Marketa left the stage, and Glen stood there with his holey guitar you saw in the movie and sang an acoustic set for us. Oy.  That's all I can really say.  Oy.  He started singing "Say It To Me Now," behind the mic, but quickly stepped out and just belted it from the front of the stage, and I seriously wept the whole time. (It's a short song.)  The man is amazing. 

Aside from being rollicking and emotional and powerful, it was also a really fun and intimate concert.  The theater seats about 3000 people, so it wasn't too big.  Glen interacted a ton with us in the audience, telling funny stories, encouraging us to sing along ever louder, and even taking a few questions and requests.  They did "Falling Slowly" during their encore, which ended up being 4 songs, I believe, including an old blues/folk song that we all had to sing.

Their U.S. tour is almost over, but I highly encourage you to watch Once if you haven't, buy all their music, check out The Frames and buy their music, and see The Swell Season next time they're near you.