- 18 Dec 17
Presenting the Glen Hansard Soul Orchestra. Converted: Pat Carty
We were under instruction to be in our seats by 8.15. Glen’s “people” had posted that this was the aimed for start time “to give us a bit more wiggle room”. It would be half an hour later before kick off but we needn’t have worried, there was to be plenty of wiggling over the next few hours. Hot Press picked up it’s pass as per usual in the ticket office but was persuaded to donate €10 anyway, as all the proceeds from tonight’s show were going to the Inner City Helping Homeless charity. This seemed more than fair. All profits from the merchandising desk were headed in the same direction, including prints of our own David Rooney’s stunning Homeless illustration, signed by both Hansard and the artist. A good example of the man’s propensity to put his money where his mouth is.
There’s no expense spared on the stage either. Opening number, ‘Winning Streak’, features a full twenty-five odd member choir (Songs In The Key Of D) who’ll pop off and on all night, as well as a proper sting section. ‘High Hope’ will then add a further three-piece brass contingent. Hansard himself is all grin and beard, calling to mind some mountain-bound prospector who has just hit the big strike and has come down into town to celebrate. As the song’s title might suggest, he looks like one of those lost looking lads to whom a traffic light had previously been the height of voodoo magic, who finds themselves on the lotto’s TV show, doing the big spin. The stage, with its array of lamps that Hansard’s Ma probably threw out at the end of the seventies, and the decorative bass drum head which reads “Save A Soul Mission”, is almost sepia toned and resembles those evocative early photos of The Band taken by Elliott Landy, which though taken in the late sixties, could be from a hundred years earlier. I suspect this is intentional.
‘Roll On Slow’, from the forthcoming Between Two Shores, is a meaty thing, all brass and guitar solos, which could pass as a relative at a wedding of the Stones and Springsteen, who also gets a mention in the lyrics. It segues into a rockin’ take on Them’s ‘Gloria’ and they don’t seem out of place up against each other, which is high praise. ‘Wheels On Fire’, also from the new album, sounds better here then it did when released on Spotify, but it’s not his best. The pizzicato opening of ‘My Little Ruin’ is beautiful, and when the string section then bow their instruments, it catches the breath. The piano glissando at the other end of the tune goes a bit Mike Garson/Aladdin Sane, which is just as welcome. The band at full tilt for ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’ reminds you of The Waterboys around the time of This Is The Sea, and when they come crashing back in after the crowd have sung a verse and a chorus, it’s damn impressive.