Saturday, 30 May 2009

Fanfarlo - Live Review

Act: Fanfarlo
Location: Southampton, U.K
Venue: Hamptons
Date: 29/05/09

Fanfarlo wafted into town on a sultry start of the weekend evening and it was clear from the assembled throng, that they were up for a good evening of off-kilter esoteric indie pop.

Fanfarlo are a London based band, named after a Charles_Baudelaire novella, who have been courting plenty of favourable coverage in the three years that they've been together and have become much coveted by sections of the music blog scene and given a nod of approval by David Bowie!

The band are fronted by Simon Balthazar, who writes and sings the majority of the material (vocals, keyboards, mandolin, saxophone, glockenspiel, clarinet) He grew up in Sweden, which might explain the refreshingly enigmatic zest to their musical direction, veering away from the insular influence of plodding post Brit pop bands of the Nineties/Noughties.

My Initial impressions of Simon's singing style brought to mind the lovely languid singing voice of the late Billy MacKenzie from the celebrated Eighties Scottish band The Associates, crossed with something more rural and folky; Cathy Lucas (violin, keyboard, vox), Justin Finch (bass) Amos Memon (drums) and Leon Beckenham (trumpet, keyboard) complete the line up. On closer inspection, with their checked waistcoats, dickie bow ties and outcrops of facial fungus, they conjure up an image of a band, born out of necessity, after being raised on some back to nature commune on a remote Scottish Island. Imagine a scene if you will, where television is banned and they have to fill the long winter evenings by creating strange and organic songs from instruments fashioned from flotsam and jetsam: Not so much of the 'Kids from Fame' more like the 'Kids From Castaway'

The first half of the set was somewhat muted with the first four numbers being politely received, but it wasn't until the latter stages of the performance that they really upped a gear, when the stronger songs were delivered, allowing the musicians to exert some zip and add a bit of sparkle to the set.

The culmination of the evening was to deliver the highlight of the show. The final song was played and the band, pleading over exertion on the stuffy stage area, bargained with the crowd who were yearning for more and then placated the cluster of indie fops with an encore delivered right in the heart of the audience on the venue floor.

This sated the appetite of the fan base who had threatened a twitter of tuts of discontent for a brief interlude. We all gathered around and clapped along as if it was an impromptu camp fire singsong or street corner rabble raising, all huddled round in a great big musical hug.

Their first single from their album was released through Moshi Singles Club on 04/05/2009
'Drowning Men/Sand and Ice ' buy it here

O.K listen up, here's the summary bit: recommended for fans of the new wave of indie folk that's sweeping the floppy fringes of the nation's bookish youth. We're talking about Johnny Flynn, Thos Henley, Neutral Milk Hotel and oh...alright then, I'll mention The Arcade Fire comparisons being bandied about. A Salvation Army band for the crunched generation!

Fanfarlo - Harold T. Wilkins - from the Album Reservoir get it here

Fanfarlo - Howard T Wilkins - Bandstanding Busking Live Performance

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