Last night at the Hollywood Bowl, three sets of musicians filled the massive, sold out space – part of KCRW’s World Festival — with graciousness and gratefulness, on top of gorgeous sets of music. It was a night of male/female duos (and their bands, of course) headlined by Swell Season. No matter their current romantic status, there is one thing for sure – Glen Hansard makes Marketa Irglova smile. He did it many times throughout the evening and watching them connect personally made their music that much more beautiful, as it did in “Once,” the movie that brought them an Oscar and reminded me of how movies are supposed to make you feel.
They played all the hits from that soundtrack, but started it off with just the two of them, singing a cover of Tim Buckley’s “Buzzin Fly” — a personal favorite from when they last performed on Morning Becomes Eclectic (speaking of, Glen shouted out the station’s call letters in the middle of another song!). They also covered “Into the Mystic,” which they played for us during their MBE debut in 2007.
She & Him – featured Zooey Deschanel and M Ward, also wowed with a cover, closing with a drawn out, dramatic and thoroughly enjoyable “I Put a Spell on You” that had the crowd on the edge of their seat (as well as a great cover of Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold on Me.” He’s played at the Bowl earlier in the week) The Bird and the Bee shared songs from their new album, a disc of Hall & Oates covers, including “ Sara Smile,” but it was their single “Please Clap Your Hands” that really got the crowd going.
Of them all, Glen Hansard seemed the most in awe of playing the Bowl, telling a story about visiting the venue years ago with Damien Rice and determining to make it happen. When they won the Oscar for “Once” (if you haven’t seen it, please do), I was at a friends house and my eyes just welled up with tears — not only because the movie moved me so much, but because it was like a win for the indies, a win for my way of life outside the corporate mainstream. Seeing them on such a huge stage, it was great to see they haven’t lost any of the genuine joy and passion that has gotten them so far. If there was a cynic in the house, I don’t want to know him.