The Swell Season
ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 3, 2008
The Swell SeasonFriday, Sept. 26, Zilker Park
With Irish flags waving salute against the sunset backdrop, Glen Hansard opened the Swell Season's set with the rousing chorus of "People Get Ready" from the Frames' 2007 LP The Cost, which with the surging violin and drums suggested that Hansard's simply shifted his band in name thanks to the remarkable success of last year's film Once. Hansard has always proven an exceptional vocalist, even if predictable in his songs' slow crescendos, and "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Go With Happiness" were beautifully and emotionally wrought. Markéta Irglová's contributions unfortunately fell mostly to the background, though her lead on "If You Want Me" brought a surge of cheers, and duets such as "Falling Slowly" and "The Moon" collapsed the immense festival space into Hansard and Irglová's intimate interplay. Hansard delivered a yelping solo version of Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks," furiously shredding his battered acoustic guitar, but closer "Fitzcarraldo" was a cacophonous wreck.