Monday, November 16, 2009

Musicalia: The Swell Season - Paramount Theater, Austin, TX - 11/15/09

Last night, The Special Lady Friend and I ventured out to what has become a familiar concert venue over the past few months to take in The Swell Season's headlining gig. If you need a refresher, I just saw Glen Hansard open for Sam Beam at the Paramount in July, and it was amazing. (I've also written about Once on more than one occasion). Every time I've seen him with now three different acts has been top notch, and this time was no different.

Hansard's solo acoustic rendition of "Leave" was absolutely transcendent. The full-band "When Your Mind's Made Up" was moving. Marketa Irglova led the band for a great run through the new stand-out track "Fantasy Man." They opened the encore up with a phenomenal Glen and Marketa duet of "Falling Slowly". In between, they covered much of the two Swell Season releases*, along with a few old Frames tunes sprinkled in.

*The new album, Strict Joy, is pretty damn solid, by the way. I'm a pretty shitty music reviewer, if we're being honest here, largely because music is a medium that I feel more than anything else and I have fairly major issues with the transition between the way I feel about music and finding the words to illustrate that feeling. That being said, the first three tracks are great, and the album manages to maintain its momentum through to the end.

Now you may have noticed that this recap has been fairly superficial, and I assure you there is cause for this. The cause for the cursory nature of this recount is because I was ceaselessly distracted by the insanely irritating super fan sitting right behind me for pretty much the entire show.

I freely admit that I am an irritable person, surely more so than most, but there is something especially grating about the person directly behind you singing through the entire concert. It is even worse at a quieter show at a sit-down venue. And all of that is further exacerbated when that person thinks herself a good singer, therefore singing loud, singing proud, and singing in a different register than the person singing on stage. Compound that irritation with a five-minute sneezing spell and hand-clapping for something like five straight songs roughly two feet from my ears, and you've got one irritated dude. For the record, I was not the only one irritated, but I'm the only one writing about it.

Now I don't have a big problem with singing along to certain things, especially when it is done tastefully or relatively quietly (the girl next to me was singing along, too, but she was doing so quietly and was shockingly not irritating), but singing out and harmonizing on shit is just fucking aggravating. If we were in a loud club, it'd be different, too, but it's a fucking theater.

I didn't pay $90+ dollars for a pair of tickets to hear you sing, lady.

Rant done.

The show was good, but some irritating broad* kind of took me out of it.

*I kind of want to bring the word 'broad' back. We'll see how it goes.

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