Saturday, October 25, 2008


I had reserved tickets for this concert months ahead of time. I don't have much, if any, disposable income so forking over cash for life's non-necessities is something I don't take lightly. This was a necessity... I needed something that would take away my anxiety over the economy. I needed a musical fix from The Swell Season with a little help from their friends. "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -- Berthold Auerbach

October 4th -- It was a grey, slightly rainy day in Los Angeles. A relief from the Santa Ana winds that brought sweltering temperatures to bake Southern California. The refreshing weather added just the right ambience for the Swell Season who made Los Angeles their final U.S. stop on their official Fall tour. Their music is a welcome respite from whatever ails me. I was thankful that I had a chance to see them at the Greek Theatre that day. I saw their movie ONCE (featuring their Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly) over a year ago. It grabbed a hold of me and hasn't let go yet.

The concert was like a family reunion with Glen & Mar getting support from their Frames bandmates: Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Joe Boyle, Rob Bochnik. Iron & Wine aka Sam Beam was the opening act and his gentle, casual and self-deprecating rapport with the audience was the perfect fit. I felt as if I was among friends and family. (Included in the friendly audience was Hank Azaria and Kevin Pollak, sitting three rows in front of us.)

Highlights for me--
~The raw emotion from Glen singing without the mic: Say It To Me Now from the edge of the stage. WHEW! We were all reliving the moment we first heard and saw him perform the song in Once! The audience bathed Glen with feverish applause that died down instantly as he sang the next line. Everyone immediately hushed so they could hear him.
~John Carney (director of Once and former The Frames' bandmate of Glen's) joined Glen & Mar on "Lies". The sight of the three amigos back together was pricelesss.
~The surprise appearance on stage of Richard Sherman, co-composer of a multitude of songs from Jungle Book to Mary Poppins and many more. It was a cool and charming collaboration between different generations of film music artists. I mean, who would've expected Richard, Glen and the guys singing "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious"?
~The impromptu audience singalong of "My Girl."
~The stirring Fitzcarraldo and the anthemic People Get Ready finale.
Sigh---the night ended too soon but the memories linger.

Sites to check out:
-- High quality live recordings of The Swell Season and Iron & Wine at:
If you are so inclined, youtube also has some concert videos of The Swell Season. The quality leaves much to be desired so be forewarned...but Glen's anecdotal intros should not be missed.
--Colm Mac Con Iomaire's solo CD debut: The Hare's Corner
--The Swell Season or
--The Frames

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The dark humor joke about LA is that it does indeed have seasons: fire, flood, earthquake and drought. Others have even included more seasons: , mudslides and riots! pause ... Ha ha ... what a riotously funny joke (sarcasm overload here!)

We do have autumnal tree colors, thank you very much, and this weekend I attended a city-fied fall festival at the original Farmer's Market at 3rd and La Brea. My little niece joined us as a welcome reminder of how to keep young at heart.

People of all ages, ethnicities, economic status, political affiliations gathered together for a little hoedown of sorts. Pumpkin decorating, pie-eating contests, marionettes, wheat weaving demonstrations, yarn spinning and Americana music. There were families stressed out by their overstimulated kids, a husband who looked weary as he waited for his daughter to get her face painted, the animal lovers who adored the wallaby but were overcome by the assertive goats at the petting zoo. It was a cool way to forget about the craziness in the real world. When cynicism and mean-spiritedness run rampant, I was happy to be among people I didn't know--from places far and near, just enjoying the day. SeƱor Llama seemed to enjoy the day, too!