Last Friday's WXPN Free-at-Noon concert's headliner was actress-turned-musician Minnie Driver, but the stars of the show were musicians-turned-actors Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová (who perform as "the Swell Season").
Hansard, of the Irish band the Frames, and Czech singer and pianist Irglová are the stars of the new independent movie Once. Driver, of course, has been in major motion pictures like Grosse Point Blank and Good Will Hunting (as well as several other movies where the title isn't a play on words). She also, um, sings.
I don't want to be too harsh on Ms. Driver. She can sing, and she's not too too bad at it - other than a monotonous stab at Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster" she didn't embarrass herself. I just didn't leave the concert feeling like I just had to have her new disc. Judging by the long line at her table after the show, a lot of concert-goers did - though buying her disc also meant getting to meet a real-live Hollywood actress, so that could have had something to do with the unusually brisk sales. Driver was also quite charming during her mid-concert interview (though she needs to drop her totally-fake British accent).
Oddly enough, during Hansard and Irglová's interview they mentioned that the director of Once said he was looking for musicians who acted, not actors who sang (sorry, Minnie). If these two can act as well as they perform music, and it looks like they can, than the movie should do pretty well. Hansard wrote the film's songs (before being cast in the lead) and had already recorded an album with Irglová before doing the soundtrack. Irglová's soft harmonies nicely compliment Hansard's emotional, Cat Stevens-like vocals.
They also, apparently, have become a real-life couple since the playing a couple in their film - though that was kind of obvious in concert from the goo-goo eyes they were making at each other (actually, it was kind of sweet to see the way they were interacting - it's just that I'm a cynical old man, so I have to make fun of it).
I've got a bunch of pictures of the happy couple over at my Flickr page, but my view of Minnie was usually blocked by her band's equipment so I've only got a couple shots of her. NPR, as they do every week, has archived the concert at their website.