Last night I went to see Swell Season. To be honest, I didn’t see Once until after the Oscars the year ‘Falling Slowly’ won for best song. I was late to the party on the entire deal. Even after seeing Once, I didn’t find it to be a movie I could watch over and over again. I LOVED some of the songs, and I thought it was cool to see things in Dublin that I had been to. I watched the movie a month or two after getting back from Europe. I walked through the HMV that he chased the thief through. Anyway, so I heard from multiple friends about how amazing Swell Season is live, and when they announced a NOLA date, I was excited. Bands like that usually skip NOLA, and they had for every tour since they got big, but I guess now they’re going back and playing the cities they’ve missed.
Last night started with a visit to a Subway that had the worst staff I’ve ever seen. First, the kid sitting up on the counter eating a cookie. Then the kid with the long hair that hung in his face. Finally the girl who came out of the back to toast just the bread. I kept thinking the kid with the hair would have one fall into a sandwich with him standing over the counter making sandwiches. Then the girl started to make my sandwich, and when I said I wanted it toasted she put just the bread in the toaster then walked off. What? She didn’t come back, so the cookie eating kid decided to do something. All three of those kids didn’t seem interested in just doing their jobs. Working at Subway can’t be that hard or unenjoyable. Hopefully they figure it out soon.
We got down to the HOB right about 8 pm for the show. Rachael Yamagata was the opener. I’m not a fan of sad songs, esp sad songs introduced by trippy explanations. I liked her better when she was singing BGV for Ryan Adams on Cold Roses. It wasn’t very crowded when we got there, and it was nice to be able to move around. When it got closer for Swell Season to come on, the place filled up.
Glen and Marketa came out and sat down at the front of the stage and played their first song. It was so pure I guess is the word I’m going to use. They weren’t trying to do anything other than simply play a song the way they wanted. I hadn’t really remembered many of the songs from the Once soundtrack except Falling Slowly, and I had not heard any of the songs from the new album. I can’t really go song by song to review. The feeling I got from the show was great though. The crowd was so nice and quiet. Usually when I go to shows at the HOB, the crowd is rude and inconsiderate. Not on Thursday though.
I wasn’t really a fan of the songs that Marketa would sing. She only did 4 songs. Glen did several songs by himself, and with the band, and then with just him and Marketa. The highlights I can remember were songs like “Feeling the Pull”, “Back Broke”, and two covers Glen said he and the band learned because they were playing New Orleans. I could tell with how he introduced them that he wasn’t learning or performing them to seem cool, he did it out of genuine respect. He intro’d a song called “Lakes of Pontchartrain”, which sounded awfully like the song “Banks of Pontchartrain”, which I saw Nickel Creek cover at the HOB in 2003. It’s not the same song after some googling on Friday. They saved “Falling Slowly” for the encore, and it was just Glen and Marketa on the stage. He came over with his shoddy guitar (from the movie, which I thought was awesome) to the piano and they played it in similar fashion to that first performance in Once (which is my favorite part of the movie).
They played past 11, which I think is past the curfew of the HOB. I almost didn’t want it to end. The music was just fantastic. I’m not going to say it was the BEST SHOW EVER or anything, but it was definitely worth the money I paid and the hassle getting there, and the long drive after. I’m really glad they decided to make NOLA a tour stop. While I’m not sure the movie has repeat watching for me, I think the live show definitely does. Oh, and I scored a poster for $10. I love cheap merch prices.