Academy Award winning musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, also know as The Swell Season, descended on Chicago last night for a WXRT exclusive performance at The Hideout. The set spanned 75 minutes and was interspersed with a Q & A session. They opened with the song “Lies” and proceeded to roll out tracks from their upcoming sophomore release Strict Joy, due out October 27th via Anti- records.
Two of the new songs, “Low Rising” and “In These Arms” are currently streaming at http://www.myspace.com/theswellseason. Of “Low Rising,” Hansard admitted that it may be a bit Van Morrison, but when he realized this he continued to flesh it out and embellish on it to celebrate the spirit of the Northern Irish legend.
Of course, the Oscar-winning Best Original Song “Falling Slowly” was the unabashed hit of the night. In speaking about her memorable acceptance speech when host Jon Stewart called her back to the stage after a commercial break, Irglova noted that in her mind she had said the two words (Thank you) she wanted to and hadn’t fully comprehended that she had been cut off.
Glen and Marketa proved to be extremely likeable and now have their careers intimately tied to one another. Hansard, who also performs with The Frames, needed Marketa as his foil to really hit the big time. It is unclear if the two are a couple, but on this night it sure seemed that they were more than just a musical duo.
In a somewhat surprising move, late in the set they swapped instruments and Marketa plucked guitar and sang lead vocals to take the spotlight from the gregarious Hansard. For an encore the two sat close together for a stirring cover of Tim Buckley’s “Buzzin’ Fly.”
A proper Swell Season tour stop comes to Chicago on December 3rd at the Auditorium Theater. The new record, Strict Joy, co-produced by Glen Hansard and Peter Katis (The National’s Boxer) hits shops on October 27th. If you head to Amazon.com a free mp3 of “In These Arms” is available now. (Search Anti Sampler Fall 2009) The Hideout performance is due to air on WXRT’s Live From Studio X later this fall. See more pics at my Flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/39771243@N08/sets/72157622284698615/