Swell Season

The Swell Season, House of Blues San Diego, August 17th 2010

Yesterday held one of those sweet, unexpected moments of marriage awesomeness. (Get your mind out of the gutter) We came home completely exhausted but having really enjoyed ourselves. (Again, what’s with the gutter thoughts? Knock it off!)

It all started with an early morning check of Twitter. I had gotten a direct message from a youth worker buddy from New Mexico. It was pretty random, actually. “You live in San Diego, right? Want to see Swell Season tonight?

I’m not going to lie. I was confused. I was confused why a guy from New Mexico wanted to know if I wanted to see a concert. I mean, I like music… but I don’t know this guy like that. And the truth was that I wasn’t sure who Swell Season was. Was it a cheesy Christian band I’ve never heard of? The name rung a bell but I wasn’t sure where I knew the band name from and I kind of feared that they were the opener for Hawk Nelson or something.

A couple of direct messages more and I had the story. Aaron and Heather had come to town to see Swell Season, the band from the movie Once. Yeah, one of the most romantic movies that wasn’t a chick flick I’ve ever seen. And Glen Hansgard and Markéta Irglová delivered my favorite Academy Awards moment ever with their acceptance speech for Best Original Song in 2008.

Seriously, I just watched that video again and it still makes me cry. Freaking awesome, right?

OK, back to earth.

I sent Kristen a quick email. Just sent the link and said, “Do you want to go?” She responded back with a very romantic “YES” and the date was on.

We met up with Aaron and Heather from their hotel and went over to El Indio for a taco. It was fun to get to hang with Aaron outside of the context of NYWC and to meet Heather. I’ve  got this corny little saying that you can’t really know a person until you meet their spouse. So now I feel like I got to know Aaron in a whole new light and that was cool. The guys talked youth ministry and church shop while the ladies talked about… well, I have no idea because Aaron and I were talking about youth ministry and church stuff!

From there, we went over to the House of Blues. It’s a great venue which provides a real sense of intimacy between the artist and the audience. The opening act was pretty fun. But he was an opener and I can’t remember his name. (Isn’t that the job of an opener?)

That guy played his set and then there was a little break where we chatted some more. Then, the main act came up.

I don’t know really how to describe Swell Season live. I’d heard that they were really fun live and that’s totally true. Hansgard is super savvy at working an audience. He gets them to see along sweetly to his tunes. And the interplay between himself and Markéta is over-the-top romantic.

They are ridiculously wonderful live. You get lost in their harmonies. They take you on a ride into long and slow ballads only to be lifted out of that pit with a fun song. And, of course, the whole time you are left to wonder… “Are they together?” and “I wonder if this would be a good song to play on the streets of Dublin busking?

The show ended late. We drove Aaron and Heather back to their hotel. And we made it home right before both of us fell into a deep sleep.

A swell night with some new friends and The Swell Season.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

2 comments

  1. Love The Swell Season! My wife and I saw them in Phoenix on their first tour after winning the Oscar. Glen walked out and belted out a song, alone, completely unplugged and no microphone, just pouring out his soul in this huge elegant theater. The audience was completely silent in awe from what we had all experienced. I still get chills thinking about it.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: