I'm coming down from a busy weekend. It began Friday night with the Swell Season show in St. Louis, which was, well, swell, for lack of a better word. My friend and I drove to the Pageant after work to catch the show. I hadn't been to U City since the early 90s, when my cool older sister took me on a vintage shopping trip up the Delmar Loop, but I wasn't all that surprised to see a Coldstone Creamery next door to a fetish shop Friday night. Gentrification is an unstoppable force. I saw it at work in my own neighborhood of Ravenswood when I lived in Chicago. It's a mixed bag: people always bitch and complain about gentrification, but no one seems upset when a Starbucks replaces the pawn shop up the street. Unfortunately, all character tends to vanish along with the ethnic grocery stores, hallal butchers, and sari shops.
Anyway, I've been busy this weekend and haven't had a chance to write properly about the show, but I can say it was solid and beautiful from Rachael Yamagata's opening performance to The Swell Season's final encores with members of the Frames.
Every time I drag myself to a concert, I'm reminded how much seeing live music changes my opinion of bands. I don't make it to many shows, but I always leave with a greater respect for the musicians I've seen. Rachael Yamagata, for instance, has always been so-so in my eyes, but hearing her live changed my mediocre opinion of her. Her smoky voice is powerful and impressive on stage. Glen Hansard is also a force unto himself, raging angrily on stage one minute and whispering quietly over his hole-riddled guitar the next.
The Swell Season Set List:
1. "Fallen from the Sky"
3. "Low Rising"
4. "Feeling the Pull"
5. "In These Arms"
6. "The Rain"
7. "The Moon"
8. "If You Want Me"
9. "Fantasy Man"
10. "Say It to Me Now"
12. "Paper Cup"
13. "Astral Weeks" (Van Morrison cover)
14. Violin solo (18th century Irish love song)
16. "When Your Mind's Made Up"
1. "Falling Slowly"
2. Rachel Yamagata song (title?)
3. "High Hope"
4. "Get Off Your High Horse, I Wanna Talk to Ya"