Monday, June 16, 2008

When music is so good you want to keep it a secret...

I know I've been MIA lately, but I just haven't been able to net any inspiration.

Sunday night I saw Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova in concert at the Chicago Theater. You may remember them from a little movie called, Once. If you haven't seen it, I implore you. Go rent it. Watch it. You won't be able to catch your breath at moments, I promise you.

That movie devastated me. It was so good and so genuine and so modestly poignant that I had to keep checking the date on the DVD cover. How could this movie have come out and not everyone in the world be talking about it?

Everyone knows I am a sucker for a good love story and I have to admit, that's what hooked me. At first. After about a half hour into the movie though you realize the love story is absolutely secondary. This movie is truly about the music.

Anyways, don't take it from me. As I said before, see it for yourself.

Moving onto the show Sunday night...

Here's the deal. Most shows I've gone to follow the same routine. People show up, the band plays, people stand up and clap, people leave.

Sunday night was completely different.

The whole theater was silent when they started their first song, "Lies". All you could hear was an errant cough, the shuffle of a sandaled foot. At first I felt like something was wrong. I was almost slightly embarrassed for the band because no one was clapping. But then something happened. The tide turned and all at once I realized it wasn't a silence of distaste or dislike, but one of anticipation and captivation. People were literally on the edge of their seats holding their breath.

As Glen Hansard launched into the chorus of the first song with a passionate howl, "The little cracks they escalated, before we knew it was too late..." the crowd responded like the buzz of a window with a passing train.

By the time he got to the second verse of the chorus, "Maybe if you slow down for me I can see you're only telling lies lies lies...breaking us down with your lies lies lies" the crowd erupted.

From that point on you could feel the pulse of every person in that audience racing with each octave Hansard's voice climbed. By the time they got to the piano build up alongside the strong guitar in the middle of the song, it made me catch my breath.

The energy those two, Irglova and Hansard put off is contagious and genuine. Their rapport is loving and witty and authentic. It's a pleasure to watch. They pull you in with seemingly barely any effort.

Glen Hansard is fucking amazing. The lyrics are fantastic, heartwrenching, poetic. But it's his performance that is so riveting. He plays with such emotion and fury that you can't deny his talent. You know that he's the real deal, not just playing for fame or fortune. It was refreshing and I left the show invigorated and dare I say, inspired?

Marketa Irglova was the perfect complement to her partner's rugged candor. She's reticent and demure and has a compelling likeable incorruptibility. But when she sings with him she comes alive. Her voice is like breaking glass, beautiful and dangerous. When she sings, "I'm sorry that you have to see the strength inside me burning" it makes my heart hurt. It awakens something slow, melancholic and regretful inside of me. Something dormant stirs.

For me the best song of the night was not originally one of my favorites on the soundtrack, but has slowly crept its way to number one. "Leave" really and truly makes you feel like you are running in slow motion, trying to catch up with someone who's already gone. As the song moves toward the end, Glen Hansard's voice grows progressively more out of control, violent, louder. His pleas become more desperate and achingly earnest.

From the buildup to the breakdown, this song is probably one of the hardest songs to listen to. You just know that distinct pain in his voice. Everyone can relate to that deep, deep hurt. I have to listen to this song on full blast on my iPod because otherwise I will cry.

It's perfect.

The whole show was perfect.

After the crowd stood clapping and screaming until their hands reddened and their voices grew hoarse, the band reappeared.

This happened three times. And three times they came back out from behind that dusty velvet curtain and played like it was their last and only song of the night. Of the whole tour.

I can't even accurately describe how good this show was and I know more words than the average person.

Thank god for original artists.


A Lil' Irish Lass said...

Excellent review.

I saw Once with my roommate back when it first came to DVD and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. We had tickets to see Hansard and Irglova back in May but we had to give the tickets up due to scheduling conflicts. After reading this, I'm thinking I'm going to have to try to get tickets for their Central Park show later this summer. Like you said, their chemistry is remarkable and it's music that rips your soul out.

Anonymous said...

I own "Once"

you know we could be a good love story.

Pragmacat said...

Lucky girl.

I'm not sure if it's the result of trendy hipsters gobbling up the tickets post-oscar win, but the tickets for their showing here in LA are freakishly pricey. About $100 for the worst seats in the house. Maybe I'll call it an early birthday present pour moi.

country roads said...

I LOVED that movie. LOVED it.

Andrea said...

this post gave me a lump in my throat...

i hope to see them in sept. when they play
here, a 2 minute walk from my house.

awesome post!

Colleen Snell said...

What a review! I promptly went onto my iTunes to listen to it. Had to plug in the earphones because it is only best appreciated at a very loud deciblel.

I, too, could hardly contain myself from falling apart during this movie. I can't imagine how great the show would have been. Without a doubt, I missed out.

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