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AAA Music | 17 September 2019

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Glen Hansard – Live @ The London Palladium

| On 24, Mar 2016

Photo by Conor Masterson

Wednesday 16th March, London

Glen Hansard, the warm and versatile Irish singer and guitarist from Dublin rock band The Frames, is also half of folk rock duo The Swell Season with ONCE star Markéta Irglová. As an actor, he appeared in BAFTA award-winning film The Commitments and his role in the film Once earned him an Academy Award for Best Song. His diverse influences include Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison.

At this London Palladium evening he was joined by his impressive band of ten musicians and an excited, enthusiastic crowd eagerly followed his lyrics and music.

The solemn hymn like song ‘Grace Beneath The Pines’ showed Glen focused and  thoughtful with a passionate wail of  “I’ll get through this”, which contrasted with the gentle melody ‘Winning Streak’, elegant and relaxed. ‘My Little Ruin’, pattered like droplets against a window and sadly told the tale of a friend with huge potential who was prone to self-destruction. ‘Paying My Way’ praised his Dad’s philosophy of life with comic references to visiting “druncles” he remembered from his family home.

‘Lowly Deserter’ , from Glen’s new album Didn’t He Ramble, had the vitality and style of a fine New Orleans band, whilst ‘Wedding Ring’ was an enjoyable shuffling blues. ”Way Back in the Way Back When’ looked at the lives of troubled nomadic people with traumatic memories of their past and dreams they had of distant lands they longed to reach.

There was an intense acoustic rock version of the Van Morrison song ‘Astral Weeks’ and also ‘White Sulfur’, a powerful tribute to talented Ohio musician Jason Molina. A dramatic ‘Ashes To Ashes’ by David Bowie, sometimes referred to as a dark ‘nursery rhyme’, revisited the Major Tom character in Space Oddity.

Glen Hansard has a friendly personality and tells humorous tales that are generously sprinkled amongst his intriguing set list. His moving encore ‘Falling Slowly’ , the Swell Season Oscar-winning song that appeared in the film ONCE in 2006, is still a charming tale of hope and, a decade later, the beauty, honesty and sincerity of the song remains unchanged.

Anthony Weightman

Photo: Conor Masterson