What a silly name, Fanfarlo
. What is a "fanfarlo," anyway? A quick Google search leads to the conclusion that the name was taken from a lesser known 19th century work of french symbolist Baudelaire, but whatever, we're not talking about books here. We're talking about some promising, ambitious new music, and Fanfarlo
is causing a commotion for good reason. I totally get why Twitter buzz about this show often referred to them as the "British Arcade Fire." Frontman Simon Balthazar has tall, bouncy hair, and they use violins and trumpets, and have tons of songs with stomping and clapping. Their songs have a definite arc to them, and often come to a rousing, orchestral climax. And their debut album Resevoir
is really good! It is the reason I went to see them in the first place.
First off, support from Wildbirds And Peace Drums
was well placed. The crowd was totally into the rhythmic howlings and tribal thrashings. One guy nearly lost his marbles dancing and singing, only to later turn and ask me "who was that band? I have no idea!" The same guy lost his marbles again when Fanfarlo came out, of course. He was the token marble-losing guy of the evening. Anyway, Fanfarlo's first appearance at The Bowery Ballroom seemed to go very well. As soon as Simon came out, someone shouted hello to him through the crowd, and he said "oh, hi" back. He seemed nervous! But he performed great anyway, especially his hair.
Oh, and Jonsi and Alex
of Sigur Ros fame were there. They had a DJ set, and then they watched from the balcony.
I think a lot of people were expecting some sort of super group ending with Jonsi and Alex playing some beautifully weird Sigur Ros tune or something, so despite it being a debut show, Fanfarlo played two encores (promising!). But they got to steal the show by asking for requests on the first (presumably planned) encore, and then again on the surprise second encore. They played a very old tune that turned out to be one of the best of the evening, and then even token marbles-losing guy knew it was time to go home. But this show was thoroughly enjoyable. Good thing they'll be back in New York for CMJ in a few weeks! Then I can lose my marbles. -joe puglisi
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Pictures: Fanfarlo At The Bowery Ballroom
Fanfarlo on Myspace