Friday, January 30, 2009

The Swell Season - Sydney Opera House [Jan 29, 2009]

Last night, we went and saw Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (The Swell Season) perform at the Sydney Opera House. (Glen is the lead singer of the Irish band The Frames), and with Marketa released an album, and starred in the wonderful film 'Once'. I was stunned when I first heard their CD during 2006, and its lovely seeing them being recognised (playing three sell-outs shows in the Opera House). There was such a connection between Glen, Marketa and the audience, created through their personality and the honestly within their songs; songs which resonating as shared experiences. Glen was quite talkative throughout the night engaging with the crowd; he seemed generally delighted (if a touch nervous) about playing the Opera House Concert Hall (fulfilling a 'dream" he had when the Frames were last in Australia during 2007). Glen comes across as a larrikan - promoting healthy disrespect for the venue (asking us to stand, and kick the seat in front of us); and a self-deprecating sense of humour

Even though I had heard a few of their shows from last year, there was still a few surprises - the Frames "God Bless Mom", Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat", and "because they were in Australia" a classic AC/DC song 'give me a bullet to bit on'. One of my favourite songs by The Frames 'Fitzcarraldo' sounds great with the addition of Marketa's piano part. I really loved Colm Mac Con Iomaire's piece "The Court of
the New Town" off his wonderful CD - The Hare's Corner.

My best recollection of the set list is (I think I've got all the songs, if not the right order):
Say it to me now // Lies // This Low // God Bless Mom // The Moon // I Have Loved You Wrong // When Your Minds Made Up // Falling Slowly // Famous Blue Raincoat // Leave // Astral Weeks // Low Rising //  Happiness // Once /// The Hill // If You Want Me // The Court of the New Town // Fitzcarraldo // Broken-hearted-hoover-fixer-sucker-guy // give me a bullet to bite on // You Ain't Going Nowhere ///

It was a really awesome show, and the crowd gave them three [well-deserved] standing ovations. There are murmurs of a new album coming out later in the year (given the few new songs they played), but I recommend a wait-and-see approach.


  1. Anonymous12:34 pm

    Hey Duncan,

    Thanks for the review, set list. I was trying to recall a few of the songs. It was a great gig. I saw the first night on the 27th and this gig on the 29th was much better. I felt the performers were a lot more relaxed and there was some spontaneous moments which was lovely.

    You should be able to download the concert in a few weeks from this website hopefully.



  2. no worries Ann... Yeah it did feel they were comfortable, and enjoying themselves.. Will be keeping an eye on that site.. :-)

  3. Oh, but I thought the 27th was great! And I loved Back Broke (and Glen's intro to that song) and when Glen sang On Raglan Road with the electric guitar, which looks to be different to this night (and there was one more from Once). We didn't get Leonard, AC/DC or God Bless Mom. Anyway, I'd have gone to all three if it were possible :).

  4. I'm sure the 27th would have been great too -- and I too would have gone to all three shows if I could.. they're not down this way very often...