A few days after LLaunch and we’re back in gig mode, this time headed to good old Paradiso to see The Swell Season and Josh Ritter. Ritter took the stage with a big smile beaming on his face, mentioning several times how glad he was to be “back in this wonderful place”. His songs can be a bit samey, particularly in just the man-and-his-guitar setup, but he makes up for it with such charm. And of course that killer song Kathleen, can’t beat it. It’s easy to see why bands like the Frames and Damien Rice in the past have enjoyed touring with him so much.

Apparently this gang are having a ball on the road together because The Swell Season were also oozing vim and vigor, stating how much they were enjoying the evening time and again. Their set was a well balanced mix of old and new Swell Season songs with Glen and Marketa alternating lead vocals and piano/ guitar playing. Marketa’s voice seems to have become a bit more mature and melancholy, almost hypnotic on songs like If You Want Me.

We also got the odd Frames song thrown in such as the beautiful Lay Me Down, though sadly not the one I was telepathically beaming at the stage all night (Fitzcarraldo). Later in the gig Glen did an amazing solo performance of the Van Morrison song Astral Weeks followed by a seemingly spontaneous decision to play Gold with the band, which is something out of the ordinary. Really nice to see how the boys all gathered close together on stage for this one, to keep an eye on each other and get it just right.

They closed the main set with When Your Mind’s Made Up and had everyone out of their seats clapping and yelling for more, a rather overwhelming response from the entire room. The encore delivered oscar winning Falling Slowly and a nice version of Ritter’s Come And Find Me performed together with Glen & Marketa.

Throughout the evening Glen had been all banter and in form as a choir teacher of sorts, supposedly getting us to sing at every opportunity because he was so impressed by the singing talent of the Paradiso crowd on a Luka Bloom live album. In style we finished the evening all singing and laughing along to Daniel Johnston’s Devil Town: “And all my friends were vampires, I didn’t know they were vampires, turns out I was a vampire myself, in this devil town”. What a heartwarming gig in this dismal and dreary February month.

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