Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Swell Season ...

Glen Hansard: He's just so cute.

A brilliant musician, sure. An enviable voice, you bet. But he's just so cute. Not just his tousled red hair – or is it brown, or maybe reddish-brown? – but his whole demeanor. The man's an Oscar winner but last night at the Chicago Theater, he seemed sincerely awed at the size of the venue he and his band were playing to for the second of three sold-out shows.

And the Chicago Theater's not that big.

(His opening act, Daniel Martin Moore, said, the audience was 36 times bigger than any audience he'd played to before. He was great, too. Has an album coming out in the fall, I believe. Be on the lookout.)

Glen and Marketa and the rest of the band (which comprised everyone from The Frames) played for well over two hours, songs from "Once," songs by The Frames. A great, great set.

But I'm sure everyone agreed that the best moment of the night came when someone in the audience called out for "Broken-hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy." (It's in the movie, which you need to see.)

Glen peered into the balcony and said, "Ethan? Are you here?"

And a little voice answered.

Turns out, Ethan recorded the song and posted it on YouTube and became a bit of a viral sensation.

So Glen called him to the stage to perform the song. Ethan made his way down, the red and blue lights in the soles of his shoes twinkling in the dark theater with every step.

When he arrived on stage, the place went nuts. It's a short song, but we all clapped along and cheered him loudly.

Glen stayed on his knees for the set, helping Ethan when he blanked on the lyrics a bit, giving him a big hug before and a big hug after.

This is the video that started it all, as best I can tell:

I'm pretty sure that's Ethan. Everyone in the comments seems to think it is. I wasn't close enough to the stage last night to see his little face.

And during the last song of the evening, the band broke into "Pure Imagination," the song from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," and Glen, channeling Gene Wilder, said, in his charming Irish brogue, "You won, Ethan. It's all yours."

I nearly started crying. But then, when don't I?

He also introduced one of his songs with an anecdote that I'll condense into this: When you're standing in front of a brick wall, and you've tried everything you can to get to the other side and nothing has worked, turn around, start walking in the other direction, and eventually you'll end up on the other side of the wall. You might just have to walk around the planet to get there.

I love that.


Blogger Dave said...

Ethan is my hero of the moment.

10:53 AM  

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