Glen Hansard at the Paramount Theatre on 11-16-15

Photo by Old Cold Guy at the Show

It was a stormy night and getting to the venue through the weather was a grueling task.   After entering the historic Paramount Theatre, those troubles were quickly squandered.  The bundled up crowd seemed relieved to be out of the elements and ready to see Glen Hansard.    He is an Irish folk singer best known for the 2008 Academy Award winning song “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once.  It was later adapted to to a Tony Award winning musical.

Aoife O’Donovan

Aoife O’Donovan appeared on stage
in a simple black dress and an acoustic guitar.   She grew up in Massachusetts, but spent her summers in Ireland making her a worthy opening act for the Irishman about to perform.   O’Donovan has toured with everyone from The Lone Below to Garrison Keillor.  Her songs didn’t really connect until Glen Hansard’s keyboardist, Thomas Barlett, accompanied her for the second half of her performance. That’s when the songs seemed to flow along with stories about Japan and Denver Sushi.

Glen Hansard and band

Glen Hansard started his set by slowly walking to the front of the stage without a microphone and sang an a-cappella version of “Grace Beneath the Pines” the opening track to his new album Didn’t He Ramble.  This sent chills over the audience.  His band included a string section (viola and cello) and a horn section.  They played almost the entire new album with a few songs sprinkled in from the Once Soundtrack.   Hansard also covered Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” breaking two sets of guitar strings within minutes producing a thunderous sound.

Folk with Brass

Hansard is an amazing story teller which adds to the narrative of his music.  My favorite tale was about the inspiration to the song “McCormack’s Wall.” A drunken adventure  about breaking into a landmark to drink wine with a female companion.

He walked through the crowd and up the balcony to perform a few more songs to the delight of the middle age women in the cheap seats.  His guitar player appeared out of no where to accompanied him on the edge of the mezzanine for the song “Gold.”

The Auld Triangle

That’s when the entire band along with the touring crew lined up to perform the folk standard “The Auld Triangle” where everyone sang a verse.  Since some of them weren’t exactly vocalists, it was interesting to hear the guitar tech out sing the horn section.

Photo by The Rock and Roll Princess

The night ended with “Her Mercy” giving Hansard the opportunity to show off his Elvis moves during the chorus.  The band left the building and sent the crowd back to face the snowstorm humming.

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