Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Sep 15th 2009 5:15PM by Ashley Iasimone
Using his iPhone to tune his guitar on stage, Hansard amused a small New York audience as he went on about his reverence for tuning applications and, in particular, the Brian Eno-created music application, Bloom. "It's great," Hansard quipped as he demonstrated Bloom with his mic. "If you're on an airplane for a very long distance, just put that on for like an hour or two."
The Swell Season -- aka 'Once' duo Hansard and Marketa Irglova -- flew in to play an intimate, sold out concert at 92YTribeca in New York on Sept. 14. The night was full of powerful performances of much of their upcoming album, 'Strict Joy,' some old favorites and even a Daniel Johnston cover ('Devil Town'). The pair captivated the crowd with live takes of new album tracks including 'In These Arms,' 'Low Rising,' 'Feeling the Pull,' 'High Horses,' 'I Have Loved You Wrong,' 'Paper Cup' and 'Back Broke.'
Previews of 'Strict Joy' and iPhone jokes aside, something even more special was in store for the crowd: A truly brand-new song, written within 24 hours of the show. It was so new that Hansard himself admitted he wasn't actually ready to be playing it.
"I want to try to sing you a song that I wrote between last night and this morning," Hansard said during a mid-show solo section. "It's not at all -- in any way, shape or form -- ready for listening. This is called 'Movin' On.' If I stumble with the lyrics, it's 'cause I'm stumbling with the lyrics."
The live performance of these songs seemed as fresh of an experience to Hansard and Irglova as it was to the ears of the audience. Without the record's accompaniment on hand, they taught concert-goers vocal parts and encouraged them to fill the places of the missing parts. When an operatic voice arose from somewhere in the crowd, Hansard laughed and said, "I want to hear the non-singers, too."
Hansard was happy to talk about the stories behind many of their tunes throughout the harmony-filled evening, and he even read aloud from the James Stephens poem that inspired 'Strict Joy.' But his most touching comment may have been about 'Falling Slowly,' the song that really charmed fans to begin with. "When you think about all your songs being your children," Hansard said, "then I guess you hope that they're all gonna do well, go to college, go out in the world and do okay for themselves. I guess this song ['Falling Slowly'] is our proudest child."