Marketa Irglova and Aida Shahghasemi played the Hotel Café in Los Angeles on the 8th of February 2012.
I’m a longtime fan of the music of Once http://www.foxsearchlight.com/once/, The Swell Season, The Frames, Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova and now the music of Marketa and Aida, a pair who happened to be playing in this town last night. It was time to drag hubby out to keep me company.
We found free parking between a church and a hookah bar. LA is a strange town and all the more for me as I don’t get out often. I took in the contrast and passed a few more establishments of dubious repute before arriving at what we thought was the front door of Hotel Café.
The kind gentleman at the front directed us around the back and we weren’t sure if that was right as it looked run down. Once we entered the place we found it cozy and the atmosphere inviting. There were a handful of tables and chairs at the front and they were all taken but we had arrived a little early and we still got a good spot.
My friend from school and fellow Once/ Swell Season fan, was there ahead of us. We chatted with her until Marketa and Aida walked passed us on their way to the small stage with the red curtain and the show started, a little early. I think we had the best view of all as we could see Marketa’s face reflected in the piano.
There were no guitars or extra people and they only used the piano and the Daf (Iranian drum) although the best moments were undoubtedly when they abandoned all instruments except their voices. Then it was stunning.
With all the familiar songs you could hear how Marketa has grown in strength by polishing them during her travels. Her voice is stronger and clearer and apart from a short hum interlude, which Marketa covered up well with a little background info on Aida talk, the mics were good. Two new songs left us guessing at parts and longing too as they have strong melodies and one in particular has a great Celtic/Iranian contrast vibe. I can’t wait for her next album. Of course, as all Swell Season fans, I long even more for another Swell Season album and tour.
The most popular songs were If You Want Me, Dokhtareh Ghoochani and Let Me Fall in Love. A girl collapsed behind us during one song. I overheard right behind me: “I’m a doctor” and ” So am I.” They came to her aid as the girls on stage sang on not knowing what was happening. The guy in front gave me his chair to pass back to the girl as she recovered.
The crowd loved Marketa and Aida and clapped warmly. Marketa was charming and only once confused by a request for a Czech song thinking the guy who requested it had a particular song in mind. She sang The Hill instead and talked about how Los Angeles and the movie’s songs had been good to her. It seemed to end too soon but it’s always like that with good concerts.
After the show we went looking for food (pizza) and passed more colorful establishments and I learned that when a customer in this neighborhood says ‘Do you want to share?’ he isn’t talking about food. I’m rethinking my desire to move into the city.
So we walked our friend back to her car in the parking lot behind Hotel Café and by a very happy coincidence met Marketa and Aida there. I got a chance to tell Marketa how much her music and the film meant to me. She is an absolute sweetheart, bless her, and deserves all the best in life.
1. Your Company
3. We Are Good
4. If You Want Me
5. Let Me Fall in Love
6. Clouds… (New song)
7. Daf drum solo
8. Dokhtareh Ghoochani
9. Close Your Eyes (New song) – Aida’s solo exquisite – strong rhythm
10. Go Back
11. The Hill (requested)
12. Falling Slowly
Listen to some of Marketa and Aida’s amazing music at World Café:
Listen to some more of Marketa’s gorgeous melodies from her album Anar here: