photos by Matthew Eisman
Swell Season @ Prospect Park on July 30th
"In support of a new record, Strict Joy, the Swell Season came to Brooklyn to play to a hypnotized, but almost manic crowd. "Low Rising" from Strict Joy represented the best of where the Swell Season are going - soulful, deep seeded pop music. So no surprise when they later turned out Van the Man's "Into the Mystic", with a backing New York horn section. And they kept the orchestral machinations of the Once soundtrack to a minimum, focusing instead on electric and acoustic guitars, relying on one solid fiddle player for strings. And of course they shined strongest on the sparse acoustic torch songs, just the two of them on "Falling Slowly" (the way the song was meant to be played), and Glenn in particular on the almost over-the-top-it's-so-good "Say It To Me Now".The Swell Season played a free Celebrate Brooklyn show on Friday, July 30th with the Low Anthem, who, along with Josh Ritter, later joined the headliners on stage. After the Roots, it may have been the 2nd most crowded free show in Prospect Park this summer.
Meanwhile, The Low Anthem just about stole the damn show. The Low Anthem are a band, and Oh My God, Charlie Darwin is a record, that personifies American roots without immediately summoning a particular brand of it. What's evoked is a creeky, wooden empty room in a house, about sundown, and a few candles or incandescent bulbs alight in a chandelier. The guitars, the horns, the keys, the saw, that amazing upright bass (with a solo for the books) - the ghosts of America, thoughtful and contemplative, lost. Something where Moby Dick, Andrew Jackson, the Civil War, and Leadbelly have a get together."
Both bands also played the Newport Folk Fest over the weekend, and NPR streamed and recorded both sets. The Low Anthem doesn't seem to be up at the moment, but The Swell Season can be listened to now.
One-half of the Swell Season Glen Hansard will be back in NYC in November for a show with his band the Frames at Terminal 5.
The Low Anthem play a free show in CT on Tuesday night (8/3).
More pictures and videos from the show (and Swell Season's performance on Jimmy Kimmel) are below...
The Low Anthem
The Swell Season
Falling Slowly - The Swell Season (Live at Celebrate Brooklyn 7/30/2010)
Swell Season, Brooklyn, Prospect Park - July 30, 'Into the Mystic'
Swell Season & the Low Anthem - Gold at Prospect Park July 30th
The Swell Season Performs "The Rain" on Jimmy Kimmel