Home > Concert Photos, Indie Rock, Singer-Songwriter > REVIEW: The Swell Season @ McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR – 11/23/09)

REVIEW: The Swell Season @ McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR – 11/23/09)

24th Nov 09 (Tue) Leave a comment Go to comments


Like mostly everyone who is into The Swell Season (Glen Hansard of The Frames with Markéta Irglová), I got into them via the movie ONCE.  They came through Eugene after I had moved to town, but before I had gotten into them.  My brother made me watch it when we were home for my other brother’s wedding (July 2008), and I suppose I should thank him for that.   With The Swell Season’s original 2009 Strict Joy tour date press release, they didn’t have a Eugene date, but I’m glad they added one…

The opener was Doveman‘s frontman Thomas Bartlett.  He played about a half of an hour of whispy piano tunes.  He seemed slightly shy, rarely looking towards the crowd… but maybe that’s just his style or how the piano was set up for him.  Due to his whispy vocals, he struck me as similar to Jeff Hanson or slimmer, beardless Sam Beam of Iron & Wine – but on piano.  He’s worked with The Frames, Swell Season, Antony & the Johnsons, Laurie Anderson, Arto Lindsay, The National, and Yoko Ono in the past – so that put him in my “he’s cool” book.  Songs he played included “Angel’s Share ” (about whisky), “The Burgundy Stain” (about wine), and a medley to the Footloose soundtrack.  The Footloose songs were fantastically mournful and sad.  Classic!

The show opened with Glen and Markéta coming out and crouching down in front of the center mic.  I wasn’t close enough to see if someone was playing the electronics / keyboards, but they started out with “Fallen From the Sky” – staying crouched down for the whole song.  Luckily that didn’t continue for the rest of the show (or my continued photos would have been lame). :)

After the initial song, the band came out.  The band was made up of the rest of The Frames, Glen’s band that was the precursor to Once and The Swell Season.  I’m very rapidly becoming a serious fan of Glen’s vocals… which I suppose means that I need to get The Frames’ back catalog.  Vocally Glen reminds me a lot of my buddy, Ashley Peacock.  Most of the set was Glen on vocals, but Markéta covered lead vocals for “If You Want Me,” “Fantasy Man,” and “I Have Loved You Wrong.”  As far as most powerful vocal performance… I’ll have to go with “Say It To Me Now,” where Glen played solo and off microphone.  A few songs later, Glen was killin’ his guitar on Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks,” and he shredded at least a couple of strings – luckily his roadie was on top of things and brought out a replacement guitar right away.

Setlist: just over 2 hours

  • Fallen From The Sky
  • Lies
  • Low Rising
  • In These Arms *a fave of the night*
  • The Rain *a fave of the night*
  • The Moon
  • If You Want Me
  • Fantasy Man
  • Say It To Me Now (Glen solo, off mic) *a fave of the night*
  • Leave
  • Lay Me Down
  • Astral Weeks [Van Morrison]
  • The Blue Shoes (Colin solo violin song)
  • I Have Loved You Wrong
  • Once *a fave of the night*
  • When Your Mind’s Made Up *a fave of the night*
  • Encore: Falling Slowly *a fave of the night*
  • High Hope (new song)
  • High Horses
  • Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy
  • It All Falls Down (with Doveman)
  • Red Chord [The Frames]
  • The Parting Glass [The Clancy Brothers]

After leaving the venue, I bet everyone thought they got their money’s worth… a great show, great vocals by Glen & Markéta.  While I know this was a break-up record of sort, I’m glad that they’re still able to work together.  And while it may be a long shot, I hope they do continue to work together in the future.

many more pictures below

The “Low Rising” video directed by Sam Beam (from Iron & Wine):

The Swell Season’s new record, Strict Joy, is better than the Once soundtrack, if you ask me.  You can get it at Amazon below:

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan – np: Pearl JamBackspacer

all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

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Tour Dates
1 – Milwaukee, Wisc. @ The Pabst
2 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ Clowes Memorial Hall
3 – Toronto, Ontario @ Massey Hall
4 – Montreal, Quebec @ L’Olympia de Montreal
6 – Boston, Mass. @ Berklee College of Music Performance Center
7 – Providence, R.I. @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
8 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Merriam Theater
9 – Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
12 – New Orleans, La. @ House of Blues
13 – Houston, Texas @ Warehouse Live
14 – Dallas, Texas @ Palladium
15 – Austin, Texas @ Paramount Theatre
17 – Mesa, Ariz. @ Mesa Arts Center
18 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Wiltern
20 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Paramount
22 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Paramount
23 – Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theatre
– Portland, Ore. @ Crystal Ballroom
25 – Vancouver, B.C. @ Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts
27 – Boise, Idaho @ Egyptian Theatre
28 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ Jeanne Wagner Theatre
29 – Denver, Colo. @ Ogden Theatre
30 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Uptown Theater

December 2009
3 – Chicago, Ill. @ Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
4 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Pageant
5 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ State Theatre

  1. 24th Nov 09 (Tue) at 12:07 pm

    What do you mean you heard of Glen and Mar from the Movie “Once”. Don’t you mean you heard about them through your brother who has good taste in Movies and Music!!!!!!

  2. Ken Hefele
    24th Nov 09 (Tue) at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the post. Great photos! Going to see them tonight Portland with my wife…celebrating 22 years. Cheers!

    • 24th Nov 09 (Tue) at 3:14 pm

      Congrats on 22! And have fun! They put on a GREAT show!

  3. 26th Nov 09 (Thu) at 10:05 am

    Great review and photos! – so jealous and bummed I missed this show, and the Portland one, but I attended a bunch of other concerts the last two weeks (KISS and Them Crooked Vultures) and I had to pick and choose. I did see The Swell Season on their last trek through Portland, and posted a review on my blog at http://isorski.blogspot.com/2008/04/concert-review-swell-season.html, and reviewed the new CD at http://isorski.blogspot.com/2009/10/cd-review-swell-season-strict-joy.html.

    Was your show sold out?

    • 26th Nov 09 (Thu) at 10:07 am

      I think the Eugene show was sold out… it was pretty packed. I know the Portland one was sold out.

  4. DMyers
    29th Nov 09 (Sun) at 6:02 pm

    Great photos!! We saw them in Seattle the night before.

    Thought last years opening act at the Moore in Seattle was more in tune with the band, but..

    Astral Weeks has to be seen to be believed!

    Great show. Mar’s “I have loved you wrong” is a fave for me.

    If you want to get some Frames Music, start with fitzcarraldo.

    • 29th Nov 09 (Sun) at 6:52 pm

      Yeah, this year’s opener was alright. Who opened last year?

      Agreed… “Astral Weeks” was stunning.

      I bought The Roads Outgrown at the show ($10)… like it so far…


  5. Bill Lidd
    4th Dec 09 (Fri) at 12:46 pm

    Does anyone know what the name of the CD that was playing just before Doveman came out?

  1. 24th Aug 10 (Tue) at 10:42 am

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