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Friday, December 15

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Review Thu Apr 08 2010

Review: Fanfarlo @ Lincoln Hall, 4/7

gapers fanfarlo 6.jpg

Simon Balthazar of Fanfarlo (photos by Kirstie Shanley).

The crowd at Lincoln Hall last night was respectful and mellow even though it was a sold-out show that filled the floor and spilled up into the balcony. There were the standard ranges of mid-week concert-goer: the dude in a tweed jacket, the really tall guy who always stands in front of you, the superfans, the pretty pretties, and the guy who doesn't know what to expect because his roommate dragged him there at the last minute with little to no warning. What held everyone together like some delicious, sticky goo was the collective sigh of happiness that washes over a listener of the lovely ensemble work of Fanfarlo.

gapers Lawrence of Arabia 300.jpg Opener Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne, pictured, right), touring with backing band The Prime Ministers (also from New Zealand with delicious accents), will be with Fanfarlo for the rest of their U.S. tour and I couldn't imagine a more agreeable pairing. Charming songs like "Apple Pie Bed" were made even more pleasant by the band's Fleet Foxes-like harmonies, their shaggy haircuts (all seemingly cut from the same haircut cloth) and their youthful exuberance over the occasional gush from an on-stage fog machine (during the song "I've Smoked Too Much," naturally). The bass player's mouth-gaping grin was the same as a kid on Christmas morning. I can only imagine the hijinx on the tour bus.

Fanfarlo hit the stage with seemingly well-studied wardrobe styling — all pastels and cream colors. They blended a kind of turn of the century/steampunk aesthetic that honestly was just playful enough. (Trousers tucked into lime green socks? Ok! Suspenders and highwaters? Why not?) They're just innocent enough to get away with anything they like.

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Cathy Lucas of Fanfarlo (photo by Kirstie Shanley).

The band went through most of their new album Reservoir including the beautiful "I'm a Pilot" and "The Walls Are Coming Down." I was so enchanted by their harmonizing, and their sincerity in performance. There's a definite energy in Fanfarlo's playing reminiscent of Arcade Fire's ensemble-heavy shows. You can feel the anguish in lyrics like flashbulbs of memory in the dark. "Fire Escape" ruminates with regret: "On the fire escape / I think I slipped, I think I fell / But you're still midway / It's not too late to just turn back." Fanfarlo's chemistry on stage was great to witness, especially as they switched instruments, handing mandolin from hands to hands, trading keys for floor tom, guitar for clarinet. They paced the evening wonderfully, leading most shocked at how fast the hour-long set went by, especially the small group of trumpet superfans who screamed the loudest for member Leon Beckenham every time he picked up his horn. Cathy Lucas was also a favorite (not just because her brother and sister were in the audience) with her talented fiddling, and beautiful stage presence with the spotlit floor tom. And lead singer Simon Balthazar was utterly refreshing with his heady troubadour delivery and boyish charm. I sense the whole group has a calm about them that's unusual in a rock band. It was a perfect act to catch in the spring (even if it was nearly freezing outside). They rode in on their own warm breeze, and I think they fueled us well for the rest of the night.

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Leon Beckenham of Fanfarlo (photo by Kirstie Shanley).

If you want more Fanfarlo, you can download a live EP from their website. Also, keep an eye out for their special 7" which includes a cover of the Fleedwood Mac song "What Makes You Think You're The One" and Fanfarlo single "You Are One" and which releases for Record Store Day on April 17th.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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