Live Review: Glen Hansard

27 October 2016 | 4:36 pm | Jennifer Sando

"Hansard broke a string during 'Falling Slowly', which should now come with a goosebumps guarantee."

Glen Hansard's Didn't He Ramble tour had its second date at Adelaide's Her Majesty's Theatre where the Irish poet and singer took the stage with an 11-piece band.

Highlights from the show included the gutsy and bluesy Way Back In The Way Back When and Star Star, which was partnered with Pure Imagination (the classic track from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory) classic and ended with dEUS's Hotellounge (Be The Death Of Me). The show wouldn't have been complete without the powerful Say It To Me Now - Hansard's soul-baring signature song - even a shortened version. 

Hansard's poetic lyrics and stories are endearing, whether they are his own or belong to others (and are made his own)* - such as Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds and Woody Guthrie's Vigilante Man; the latter a perfect choice to enhance and reinforce the strong storytelling element.

Each band member was given their chance to convince us why they were part of the show; the saxophonist that solely accompanied Hansard on Lover Don't Leave Me Waiting (during which Aretha Franklin's Respect made a brief appearance) and the terrific trombone solo in Lowly Deserter had us sold.

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A lot of Hansard's charm is in his sense of humour, particularly while performing, but this is particularly apparent when he shared tales relating to the songs. He mastered the balance of mixing lightheartedness with poignancy.

Hansard broke a string during Falling Slowly, which should now come with a goosebumps guarantee (and there should also be no limit to how many times a fan gets to hear this beautiful classic live). Didn't He Ramble, a tale about this relationship with his father, surfaced towards the end of the set with its folky intro and bluesy base.

Each song was built up impressively - one of Hansard's strong points; notably the Van Morrison cover Astral Weeks, which also showcased the singer's manic strumming. Hansard was accompanied by upright base, and the song culminated in a bit of a folky-metalcore display, if such a sub-genre exists.  

The show began to wrap up with Her Mercy, soft-rock to begin with that became a heavenly fusion of multiple genres: country, soul, big band. The horns were prominent and fantastic, and there was also an opportunity for an audience singalong; we happily obliged even if shy about it.

Hansard gave it his all among a truly melodious setlist; each number had its own personality and interpretation, which kept the show fresh and unassuming. He left us with an unplugged Song Of Good Hope, a lullaby to see out our Thursday night, with his band playing alongside him and demonstrating camaraderie.