With the Super Moon climbing the sky, it was a perfect night for music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl, and three powerhouse artists took over the stage and made it a night to remember.
It was a night of artists that I had heard of but that I wasn’t entirely familiar with. I could name a song or two from most of them but I wasn’t at a level to consider myself a huge fan. It’s nothing against them, I just hadn’t heard much from them.
I can tell you after the show, that all changed. I entered a barely casual listener. By the time I left, I was a fan of all three of them, desperate to consume anything from them that I could get my hands on.
First up, somewhat surprisingly, was Sam Beam, more commonly known as Iron & Wine. He strolled out on stage and announced himself as our dinner entertainment. He would joke about this throughout his set. This is one of the few drawbacks of the Hollywood Bowl. It seems at the start of a show the audience is more interested in eating their fancy picnics than they are in the artist taking the stage. In the case of Iron & Wine though, his raw talent and beautiful songs soon captivated the crowd. Maybe it was his, “you get one, I get one” attitude towards his set list. He encouraged fans to yell out the songs they wanted to hear, and then he would choose a song that he wanted to perform. As he progressed, the side conversations fell away, the food was forgotten, and the crowd was his. By the time he got to his final song, Flightless Bird, American Mouth, he had the crowd riveted in absolute silence. I’d never seen this before. Not a peep from anyone (at least where I was) as he closed out his show with one of my favorite songs of his. He was incredible. His set was short, but it was full of fantastic songs, including the unreleased Stranger Laid Beside Me. While I was surprised he was opening the show, he proved to be a perfect start to a truly wonderful night at the Bowl.
Boy With a Coin
Biting Your Tail
Naked As We Came
Tree By The River
The Trapeze Swinger
Stranger Laid Beside Me
Flightless Bird, American Mouth
Next up, The Head and The Heart took the stage. This was the act I was least familiar with. I’d heard the name, a name which I love by the way, but I couldn’t name a song of theirs to save my life. By the time they finished their set, I was in love. They were absolutely wonderful. From the first note, this band had me and I was enthralled for every song. The musicianship and vocals on display from this band were great. I have nothing critical for them. They were excellent. I immediately picked up both their albums after the show and highly encourage everyone to do the same.
Last, and certainly not least, Glen Hansard. Now I, and probably many others, know of Glen Hansard from the film Once, which garnered him an Oscar for Best Original Song. Most don’t know that he’s pretty huge in his native Ireland. If he keeps up with shows like last night, he’s sure to be a household name.
Featuring a coupe covers, classics, and even an irish standard, he gave us a wildly entraining show. I can honestly say that before this show, I’d never seen anyone shred on an acoustic guitar. Glen Hansard did it though. The guy is a stunning player and his set showed off his guitar and vocal chops rather well. He’s also a great story teller, in fact he blamed his talking for running out of time and his deciding to break the Bowl curfew which is apparently (and rather unfortunately) 10pm on a Sunday.
He seemed genuinely surprised he was out of time and promised to return to town for a “proper 3 hour show.” He did close out the night with an absolutely epic performance of an old Dublin song, “The Auld Triangle,” during which he brought out crew members, the earlier acts, and even actor Chris O’Dowd!
Like I said before, I’m not familiar with his extended catalog so Glen Hansard’s set for me was great. I got a nice selection of songs that made me want to hear more and more. I got a nice sense of him with his choice of covers, his interaction with the crowds, and his stories. Maybe long time fans would want more, I don’t know but I personally loved it.
Talking With the Wolves
Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting/Respect
When Your Mind’s Made Up
Bird of Sorrow
Baby Don’t You Do It
The Auld Triangle
If I had to make one complaint about the evening it was that it was too short. I would have gratefully sat there all night experiencing these artists. These are songs that give hope for the future of music. It’s not a hopeless industry. It’s not all manufactured nonsense. True artists are still out there and three of them were in fine form on the Hollywood Bowl stage.
Glen Hansard, The Head and the Heart, and Iron and Wine
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.