Entries tagged with: The Frames
So, are you planning on heading out to the movies this weekend? Well, if you are like the majority of people out there who will be, then it's to see a bunch of giant Autobots and Decepticons who turn into cars and trucks and blow up shit all over the place. Yes, as you may have heard, Michael Bay's next playful orgy of destruction, Transformers:Age of Extinction, opens tomorrow. I've seen it and while at times fun, it's mindless stupidity can be somewhat tiring after two-and-a-half plus hours (the longest Transformers yet). Imagine the head blowing up scene in David Cronenberg's Scanners with less blood and lots more loud explosions over and over and over.....
While these big action/explosion/comic book/toy films are the box office bonanzas these days, there is still room for smaller films, indie films, more personal films. Just look at what's out now: David Michod (director of one of my favorite films of the last few years Animal Kingdom) gritty, intense and bleak revenge/avenge film The Rover; Jenny Slate proves there is life after saying "fuck" on network TV with the much-talked about indie now film Obvious Child.
There's also Polish filmmaker Pawel Polikowski's stunning and intense IDA; Roman Polanski's latest sexual/psychological drama,the novella-to-Broadway-to-film, Venus in Fur; and comedian/actor/writer Mike Myers' entertaining directorial debut about one of the most legendary characters ever to work in the film and the music industry, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.
Great films all but one in particular that is well worth your time and of particular interest to readers here is Begin Again, the new film from director John Carney.
When I first saw Once, Carney's previous film, it was about five months before it was released. I knew Carney from having played in The Frames (with Glen Hansard) but had no idea what to expect having not seen his any of his earlier films. Like most people, I came away entranced. The kind of good film you want to tell everyone you know to see. Happily I can say the same thing about this new film.
As mentioned briefly, the film is about a down on his luck, once-successful maybe now washed up music producer, Dan, played by Mark Ruffalo. Having had success in the '90s with a number of hip hop bands, he has now been fired by his partner (Mos Def credited of course as Yasiin Bey) in an indie label startup. Drinking his sorrows away one night in a club (shot in Arlene's Grocery, fyi) he happens to hear an unknown British singer songwriter Gretta (the always wonderful Keira Knightly, doing her best Norah Jones, Carole King, Feist), coaxed by her friend up to the stage, timid and unsteady to sing a bare acoustic sweet ballad about heartbreak. Heartbreak she knows firsthand, having been dumped, on the brink of stardom, by boyfriend Dave (played by Maroon 5 singer /TV's The Voice star Adam Levine). The film then traces the backstory of how each ended up in there that night forging a connection. Then, over a conversation about the idea of selling out and which artist has never sold out (their answer: Randy Newman), Gretta agrees to let Dan produce a record for her. One that will be recorded at various spots all over NYC, outdoors and on the go, capturing the sounds of the city within the songs.
still from 'Begin Again'
Much of the film is beautifully shot on the Lower East Side / East Village (yes there is still some music and life going on there, take that Brooklyn) and other parts including a super montage set piece where Dan and Gretta walk around the city at night listening to different songs on her IPod. Other scenes which I don't want to give away show the deft directorial touches that only someone who is deeply involved with music could make. The music, which may not have anything as starmaking a song a Once's "Falling Slowly," is still very good -- most of it was written by onetime New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander (remember "You Get What You Give?").
The acting is uniformly great. Mark Ruffalo is an always able actor and sometimes stupendous if you have seen the recent HBO film The Normal Heart. Keira Knightly shows surprisingly lovely tone in her singing. Adam Levine, in his first big acting role, does a fine job with his character and while not a fan of Maroon 5, the man has a sensational god-given voice that most singers would kill for.
Notable mention as well goes to James Corden, who plays Gretta's Brit busking friend. He's a very engaging and funny actor, and also great singer who will be showing far more of his singing talents later this summer in David Frankel's One Chance (the very charming story of Paul Potts, an amateur opera singer, who unlikely went on to win Britain's Got Talent).
"Can A Song Save Your Life" was Begin Again's working title and probably best sums it up. Two struggling people who find each other and, through music, their own redemption. Does that sound familiar to a film called Once? Certainly it is in much the same vein. You could say it was a more-polished version of Once. Like the previous film, the two characters don't fall into any contrived "Hollywood" relationship. It is filled with yearning and doubt and What Ifs that actually mirror real life. Even with this, it's the kind of film that can easily lend itself to a description such as "cliché." I've seen some others gripe about how, like some criticized Once, music is used to cheat a flimsy story. Ignore that, drop the pretensions, and give in and it's sweet charm will have you. If as I suspect, like myself, that most of you reading this consider music to be a large part of your life I think you will enjoy Begin Again as much as I did.
Once is in Limited Release currently, playing in NYC at the Angelika and Union Square 13. Trailer for Begin Again, plus a few stills as well as shots from the its press conference yesterday at the Crosby St. Hotel, below...
photos by Jason Leiva
Glen Hansard at Mother New York
Glen Hansard, who recently played Fallon and has a handful of shows scheduled this month including one on June 29 at Beacon Theater, has added a June 28 show at the much more intimate Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets go on sale today (6/15) at noon. All tour dates, including his rescheduled run with Eddie Vedder, are listed below.
This past Tuesday (6/12), the same day he played an intimate benefit show at Housing Works, Glenn stopped by creative company Mother New York to play a private show in their offices. Jason Leiva was there and supplied us with the pictures you see in this post. More below.
Back in March Glen, whose irst ever solo album Rhythm and Repose is out on Anti- Records on June 19, went down to Austin where he played a bunch of sets at SXSW including one at our own Hotel Vegan. NYC Taper was there and he recently posted the audio. Download that at his site!
"Once," a slowly unfolding tale of two Dublin musicians falling in love, emerged early as the night's favorite, winning for John Tiffany's direction and for its book, by the Irish playwright Enda Walsh, as well as for set, lighting, sound design and orchestrations. (The actors in "Once" double as the show's band.)And congrats to the ten finalists in the "Falling Slowly" cover contest! You can watch all ten video entries at Once the Musical's Youtube page.
Near the end of the broadcast Steve Kazee, who plays the emotionally broken guitarist at the center of "Once," won for best actor and used his acceptance speech to thank his cast mates for bucking him up after his mother's death in April, shortly after the musical opened.
"This cast has carried me around, and made me feel alive, and I will never be able to fully repay them," Mr. Kazee said. [NY Times]
All Glen tour dates and more pictures from Mother New York, below...
the flyer (with most of the bands playing on it)
BrooklynVegan is proud to team up with M for Montreal again for a FREE Day Party in Austin on Thursday, March 15th from noon-7pm at Hotel Vegan (one of BrooklynVegan's FOUR DAYS in the venue located at 1500 E. 6th St.).
I'll let this full three-stage lineup speak for itself...
Stage 1 (Hotel Vegas Outside)That's all Austin bands on the BV Austin stage. It's going to a very great day
12:00 Of Monsters & Men
12:45 Glen Hansard (of Swell Season & the Frames)
1:30 We Are Serenades (formerly Serenades, mem. Shout Out Louds)
3:00 Korallreven (mem. of the Radio Dept)
4:30 The Drums
5:15 The Wedding Present
6:15 This Will Destroy You
Stage 2 (Hotel Vegas Inside)
12:00 Half Moon Run
1:30 Cold Specks
2:15 Cymbals Eat Guitars
3:00 The Velvet Teen
3:45 Yellow Ostrich
4:30 The Jealous Sound
Stage 3 (Volstead) (BV Austin stage)
12:15 Love Inks
2:30 Ringo Deathstarr
3:15 Silent Diane
4:00 The Young
In addition to the completely free lineup of 24 bands playing on THREE stages, we will also have complimentary drinks courtesy of HobNob Wines, the official wine parter of our entire week of FREE PARTIES at Hotel Vegan (check out HobNob's Facebook page for free music downloads), and a hosted bar courtesy of Sailor Jerry
Special thanks to all of our partners and sponsors for making this party possible - including Vox, Blackstar and Korg, our official backline partners, as well as ASCAP, HobNob Wines, NadaMoo!, Sailor Jerry and M for Montreal! And special thanks to GBH Design for making our awesome flyer!
This is the first full day at Hotel Vegan announced. 2/3 of the Wednesday lineup is HERE. Friday and Saturday coming shortly.
photos by Toby Tenenbaum
"While Glen Hansard is more recently known for his 2008 Oscar win for co-writing 'Falling Slowly' and being one-half of the folk duo the Swell Season, his first band the Frames is what has made this singer and songwriter a legend in the Irish rock scene. So when the band celebrated their 20-year anniversary, it was obvious that Hansard was overwhelmed by the heroes' welcome he, Colm Mac Con Imoaire, Joe Dole, Rob Bochnik and Graham Hopkins at New York City's Terminal 5.The Frames played 21 career-spanning songs on Saturday night, four encores, and the Swell Season's Marketa Irglova on piano for a tune, included. The crowd, as Glen Hasnard even pointed out, was heavy with Irish accents. They cheered appreciatively and even broke out into the signature football (soccer) chant of "ole ole" between songs.
"Sincerely everybody, we really appreciate you coming out to us," Hansard told the packed venue on Saturday night (Nov. 20). "We thought you've forgotten us. You've given us a great welcome."" [Spinner]
Jake Clemons opened the show with, according to Toby, "a 40 minute set of up-tempo country pop tunes. Before he left the stage he declared his gratitude to the Frames for allowing him to open for them and was quick to credit Glen Hansard for being the reason he learned to play guitar in the first place."
The Frames kicked their North American tour off in Philly on Friday, but stopped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon one night earlier. Video from that TV appearance, with more pictures, videos, and the setlist from Saturday night's NYC Show, and the rest of their tour dates, below...
The Swell Season (the duo of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová) came through NYC for two nights at Radio City in January, and played an even more intimate show at 92YTribeca in September. They'll be here again for a free Celebrate Brooklyn show on Friday, July 30th with the Low Anthem.
Ireland's The Frames, Glen's band since well before he was in the Swell Season, haven't played New York in quite a while (since 2007). They'll change on Saturday, November 20th when they play a show at Terminal 5. Tickets go on AmEx presale Wednesday at 11am. General sale starts Friday at noon.
The Frames are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Their only other date currently is Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Ireland, September 4th-6th. Videos and all Swell Season tour dates (quite a bit in North America & Brazil this summer, then Europe in October) are below...
photos by Chris La Putt
The Swell Season's new album, Strict Joy, is out October 27th on Anti-. On Monday night, September 14th, the Irish & Czech duo (who are no longer a couple) performed at 92YTribeca in Manhattan. 92YTribeca is an intimate, and kind of swanky, downtown NYC venue that is much smaller than the places the Academy Award-winning band played last time they were here (Radio City and Summerstage). It's also probably much smaller than the ones they'll play next (nothing announced yet) (Beacon Theatre?). Bands often visit NYC for press purposes before an album, and I think that's related to why this show happened. Limited tickets were sold for $35 a pop. It was a packed house with tables taking up most of the room. People stood on the sides and in the back.
The setup on stage was spare. Glen Hansard had an old acoustic guitar which sometimes had "a mind of its own". Markéta Irglová sat at the piano when she wasn't standing up singing, either with Glen or by herself. They alternated playing solo and together. They flew in the night before, and hadn't performed in a while. Glen related that last fact to his forgetting to pack a few things, like his guitar tuner. To remedy the situation, he told us he downloaded iTune, an iPhone app that helps you tune your instrument. He even gave a demonstration of it after showing us how the Brian Eno iPhone app works (not sure if it was the old one or the brand new one). The iPhone segment was one of Glenn's many trademark (and entertaining) stories of the evening. His funny anecdotes offset the feelings of woe that dominate Swell Season songs.
Glen was as modest and down to earth as ever. He became frustrated when his guitar didn't do what he wanted. He thanked everyone for coming (especially Paddy, or is it Patty, in the front row who he thinks has been at every NYC show he's ever played), and for paying money to do so. He acknowledged that he expected the great success of last year to not always be there in the future. I imagine he is fine with the possibility that it won't always be Radio City and the Academy Awards, but I have no doubt The Swell Season can do it again (even if their demographic becomes less my friends, and more my mom's). Everything else aside, Glen (who is also in the band The Frames), can sing and play. And so can Marketa. It was especially noticeable since I'd just returned at 5am that morning from ATP NY, a festival in upstate NY where I saw a variety of bands, of varying musical abilities, perform.
The Swell Season setlist ranged from new songs to old songs to covers to something Glen wrote the night before. I don't know exactly what Glen's relationship is to Nico Muhly (Nico may have worked on the new album), but I know that Nico and Glen have a friend and collaborator Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) in common. I didn't see Thomas there, but Nico (who performed with Thomas at the Miller Theatre just a few days earlier) was, and he played a solo piano song in the middle of Swell Season's set. It was kind of weird - maybe out of place. Glen introduced his friend Nico before leaving the stage (Marketa was already off). Nico then came up and played his song, and then Nico left and then the Swell Season came back. Regardless, special guests are always fun and I like Nico.
"Falling Slowly" (the big hit) was played early in the set, and my initial excitement turned into "I guess I'm sick of this song", but the Once songs they played at the end, "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Lies", felt much better. Other highlights included an upbeat cover of Tim Buckley's :"Buzzin' Fly" mixed with a bit of Jeff Buckley's "Grace", anything Marketa did solo, and the closing number which was a cover of Daniel Johnston's "Devil Town". During that, Glen had the NYC crowd singing along to the chorus which he repeated a few times, partially A Capella and sometimes with accompanying funny faces, accents, and vampire gestures. He sang part of it with a German accent, and he ended with a pose he called a "Kanye moment". The crowd followed with a laugh and a standing ovation.
More pictures and tour dates (which were recently announced, but no NYC yet), and the NY show's setlist, below...
"The Happy Ending Music and Reading Series, chosen by New York Magazine and NY Press as the best reading series in NYC, and singled out by the New York Times Magazine for helping to "Keep downtown alive," features the most interesting storytellers, writers, musicians, raconteurs and personalities, and requires the readers to take one public risk, while the musicians, who perform two short sets with their original, lyric-driven music, are required to play one cover song and try to get the audience to sing along."The next edition of The Happy Ending happens at Joe's Pub on March 4th. Readers will be Julie Orringer, Ryan Harty, and Andrew Sean Greer. Music will be provided by Glen Hansard of the Frames and Swell Season. Tickets are on sale.
Glen appears at Carnegie Hall for the R.E.M. tribute exactly one week later.
According to MySpace, The Swell Season "are currently in the studio with Joe, Colm and Rob of The Frames, Graham Hopkins and other special guests working on their next album, with hopes of finishing it up and having it released later this year."
And what about Hansard and Irglova? Once is a love story and it has such a persuasive documentary feel about it that surely the love that develops between the two of them has to be more than just an on-screen illusion.The "Falling Slowly" video below...
"It did become a real relationship," Hansard admits. "I think it was just a very natural part of what we were doing together. We had made the film. We had gone through so much with the Oscar. Of course, we fell into each other's arms. It was a very necessary part of our friendship but I think we both concluded that that wasn't what we really wanted to do. So we're not together now. We are just really good friends."
The work they do together, which started with the film Once and continued with the album The Swell Season, has continued. Now the duo has recorded a new album that they are considering releasing independently.
"I am trying to keep the simple philosophy that the Frames have always had," Hansard says. "I don't want to start signing to a major label when I am 38. Right now I am trying to figure out the best deal for us."
Throwing Muses with Kristen Hersh, Kimya Dawson, Ingrid Michaelson, Glenn Hansard of The Frames & Swell Season, Apples in Stereo, Tommy James and the Shondells, Jolie Holland, Keren Ann, Guster, The Db's, Bob Mould, Vic Chesnutt & Elf Power, Rachel Yamagata, Calexico, Patti Smith, and others will be singing R.E.M. songs at Carnegie Hall on March 11th. "100% of net proceeds to benefit musical education programs for underprivileged youth." Regular tickets are on sale at the venue's site. VIP tickets are available at the event's own site (thx rajohn)...
Your VIP ticket includes entrance to the private artist reception taking place at City Winery featuring cuisine designed by Mario Batali. Food will be delicious and the free wine will be flowing. Join the artists and friends in New York's first full winery and amazing new event space. The party will start immediately after the concert and go to 1am. With a full stage and sound system at City Winery, we expect many musical surprises!Mario Batali and Michael Stipe are good friends. Michael Dorf is producing this whole event. Michael Dorf owns the new City Winery which is opening on New Years Eve which is the night Michael Dorf's old club Knitting Factory is closing (which Michael pointed out himself in that NY Press article).
Vic Chetnutt & Elf Power are also touring and playing NYC together in January.
Pro-shot video of R.E.M.'s encore in Mexico City the other day, below...
More pictures and the setlist from Monday night's show below....
The Swell Season (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova performing songs from the motion picture Once) played a triumphant, sold-out, and emotional (though at times a bit 'adult contemporary') two hour show at Radio City Music Hall in NYC last night (May 19, 2008). A setlist will surface soon enough and that will help summarize things better than I can do right now, but... there was a lot of storytelling, a shout-out to Pianos where they played two years ago, two Van Morrison songs, Marketa's singing sister from the Czech Republic, an opener from Ireland who later came on stage with the Swell Season, a violinist who played one of his own songs, and at least two standing ovations. There was not any Kraftwerk or Pixies.
The Swell Season's next NYC show will be at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park (Summerstage) on September 17, 2008. Tickets go on sale Thursday.