Thursday, June 05, 2008

irish jesus

theMonica and I went to see The Swell Season, which if you're not wise to Academy Award-winning (I think) songwriting, is the group who wrote the songs featured in the movie Once.

A friend had recommended the movie to me. For him, it was seemingly a life-changing experience. I liked it fine enough and theMonica liked it more, but not treasurer of the fan club more. There was nothing wrong with it per se it was just one of those flicks that kind of happens and you go, "Oh, that was nice." It featured time-tested plotting, enjoyable characters, etc. Your ultimate enjoyment of the moview is directly proportional to how much you enjoyed the music. I hate Irish music as a rule, but this was more singer-songwriter lamenting-lost-loves music by an Irishman, rather than drunken tales of whiskey and whatnot, standard-issue Irish music. Out goes the pennywhistle, in comes the lone acoustic-guitar playing street musician singing for his Guinness.

Ok, so it should be your standard concert-going experience, right? Right? Wrong. I knew there was something amiss when the place was pretty much jam-packed. Fine - a little more popular than I expected. Then, the opener (whom I had never heard of before) completed every song to uproarious applause. Strange, right? Usually audiences tolerate an opener and will, at best, offer surprised applause, like, "Wow. I don't totally hate these guys." But this was genuine, WOOHOO kind of applause. I've been to my share of shows and this one was starting to get creepy . . .

Then Swell Season came out. Hallelujia He has re-risen! Never had I seen such an effusive response for a musician before. It was, quite honestly, kind of unsettling. I kid you not, the guy took a sip of tea and the crowd busted out in guffaws. Seriously. For drinking tea. And then he went on this long, rambling, largely incoherent spiel about tea and being Irish and drunk maybe or it was about corned beef - whatever, made no sense - but you would have thought it was Seinfeld. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA - everything you say is hilarious even though it makes no sense. Every other move was met with extreme approbation. The same kind of thing happened when the chick came out and started stammering about falling in love with a goat or some such. I don't know. Again - made no sense. But man was the crowd eating it up.

Needless to say, it was a sing-a-long show for everyone in attendance but theMonica and I. At one point I whispered to her, "If they start passing around kool-aid, we're out." I had to whisper because I didn't want to be exposed as a non-believer. I felt like I had mistakenly ended up at a Jimmy Swaggert service. "Wait isn't this the average-musician-wrote-ok-movie event? Oh, it's not. My bad."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally am the treasurer of the fanclub for that movie. But it's the unofficial fanclub, and I'm the only member.

You are super lucky for getting to see Glen Hansard perform--he's probably the number one act I would like to see, since I am very into dude-&-guitar music, especially when Irish--but it's too bad it was such a cult-like experience.

6:47 PM


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