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The Swell Season’s Greetings Heard ‘Once’ and for All

Even if you’d arrived late to the Vic Theatre last night (Nov.25), you could have shimmied all the way to the front and rested yourelbows on the stage. Not because the crowd was sparse — quite theopposite, this was the second of two sold-out shows in Chicago thisweekend — but because it was an audience focused raptly on seeing andhearing the majestic cinematic sleeper Once come to life. Thefilm’s stars, Irish bandleader Glen Hansard of the Frames and hauntingCzech folksinger Markéta Irglová, coaxed the hopeful spirit of theclassic love story from a set that included soundtrack standouts like”Falling Slowly” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up.”

Otherhighlights such as an acoustic melding of the Frames’ “Star Star” withthe Christmas carol “Oh Holy Night,” and a playful cover of Bob Dylan’s”You Ain’t Going Nowhere” only added to the show’s perfect simplicity.Add to that a few of Irglová’s delicate but brave compositions and thefantastic new offering “Heartstrings (My Heart Has Got a Monkey for aBrain),” and the ebb and flow of the evening was easily established.Hansard’s guitar and Irglová’s grand piano were accompanied by cello,violin, and electric bass, but the long lasting impression from thenight was the natural power that two passionate, evocative voices canpossess.

We Asked: The Swell Season provides the soundtrack to the passionate love affair at the center of the movie Once. If you made a soundtrack to your most recent affair, what would be the first song and why?