Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random thoughts:

- My Blog readership has spiked like 300%, whats up with that?

- I'm going to miss all these pollsters calling me at all hours of the day

- Papa G's Deli (http://pappags.com/) is awesome, Amber and I went there tonight and I enjoyed walnut loaf (cruelty free meatloaf) and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy (w/ whole mushrooms no less) and amber enjoyed spaghetti squash with taters as well.

- Barck Obama and Bruce Springsteen are both in North Carolina. Surprise campaign appearance please? Random fact: Hilary has been endorsed by the current NC governor but the two people battling in the NC DEM Primary to replace him have both endorsed Obama.

Concert Review: The Swell Season - Keller Auditorium

This is my 4th Glen Hansard related show and I can say with confidence that the man does not disappoint. This was, believe it or not, my first show at the Keller, I've almost been to three shows here (Neil Young, White Stripes and Ben Harper) but never managed to pull the trigger. Living in downtown Portland kicks ass in these kinds of circumstances as it was a 10-15 minute walk from our apartment. For those of you not familiar with Glen Hansard, hes the frontman of the frames and star of the indie megahit (a legitimate indie hit, not a pseudoindie suckfest like Juno) film ONCE.

Now, I've been to a lot of shows, and have encountered some pretty annoying people, but the guy we sat next to tonight gets the award for most annoying concert neighbor of all time. Now, this guy was obviously a steep up from the drunk lady who stole Ambers purse that one time, but that was so far beyond annoying she wasn't really in the running. The guy laughed. Constantly. Let me explain this further. When Glen would say ANYTHING, he laughed. During the middle of songs in unexpected places, he laughed. The minute a song started, he laughed. The minute a song ended, he laughed. During the encore, he laughed. He talked to his neighbors so I was able to tell he wasn't mentally retarded or anything. He was dressed like an insurance salesman and looked around 50 years old. I was in the fourth row though, so I had little to bitch about.

Beyond that guy, who went from annoying to entertaining as the night went on, the show was great. I first saw the frames open for damien rice in 2003 but didn't really become a big fan until I saw them live at the Aladdin in 2007. I was obviously stoked when Once came out, was surprised it did so well at sundance and was flabbergasted it won an Oscar (many a quality musician has left the oscars empty handed from Elliot Smith to Aimee Mann). Things have definitely changed since the swell season show I saw in November of last year. The amount of people over 40 doubled at least (note to Baby boomer women: You're already messing up the democratic primary, can you please leave my concerts alone?) and few people seemed to have any awareness of the frames material that was played. My hope is that Glen records a very rocking record playing more to the influence the pixies have had on the frames and these new (read: lame) fans drop off as time goes by. If he goes back and does another swell season record I'm afraid he may be playing zoo amphitheaters right quick.

The show opened with Glen solo playing "Say it to me now", just like the show in November. There are these moments during his live show where he just lets loose, its hard to explain but fantastic to witness. The set itself from that point on was a great mix of Once songs and frames stuff, with a couple of new tunes and some covers worked in. Their backing band was The Frames minus the drummer (and I missed him terribly) along with some irish musicians that opened the show filling in from time to time. Some standouts included Glen playing a solo version of "what happens when the heart just stops" and their transcendent cover of Van the Man's "Into the Mystic". This local musician that Glen had just met that day came up and did a song I recognized but didn't know the name, the crowd went wild and it was a very special moment, the kind of moments where you realize you're actually part of a unique experience and the band you're seeing isn't doing the same set ad nauseum. The encore was great, it opened with Marketa Irglova doing "If You Want Me", Colm doing a solo piece, and "Fitzcarraldo" which was surprisingly powerful for an acoustic arrangement. They closed with "Star Star", one of the songs that I never get tired of hearing live (amongst such classics like "RVM" by PJ, "The promised land" by Bruce Springsteen and "Easy Plateau" by Ryan Adams) complete with a tag by frames bassist Joe, whose backing vocals I definitely missed during the show.

All in all it was a great night, although a good concert for me is always a great night , and a great concert for me is a fantastic night, and a fantastic concert for me is an amazing night and so on. Among shows this year it probably won't rank very high just because of the double shot of springsteen and future double shot of pearl jam, as well as a Ryan Adams show I still listen to on a weekly basis, and an emotionally resonant show by Steve Earle. That being said it was definitely worth the price of admission.

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