Live Review: Fanfarlo @ Thekla, Bristol – 27 February

Label: Canvasback Music
Genre: Melodic Pop/Indie-Folk
Members: Amos Memon, Cathy Lucas, Justin Finch, Leon Beckenham, Simon Balthazar
Based: London
Sounds Like: Arcade Fire, Beirut, Noah and the Whale

It wasn’t only their loyal following which obscured the view of Fanfarlo on Thekla’s stage but the sheer number of instruments at each band member’s disposal. Lead pianist, Cathy Lucas, became lead violin while Balthazar flawlessly commanded trumpet, synth and super-soft vocals. This dynamism and musicianship defined their performance: an orchestration of their new album Rooms Filled With Light and a display of how this more confident sound has reinvigorated past barnstormers from their folkier 2009 album, Reservoir.

That release rocketed Fanfarlo into the muted limelight of the Indie-Folk genre. It was an album packed with waltzing, sea shanties and half-anthems; ‘half’ in the sense that every chord and trumpet flare of tracks such as I’m A Pilot and The Walls Are Coming Down, fought to achieve the triumphant heights of Arcade Fire’s releases but just didn’t quite make it. This half-criticism – ‘half’ now used in the sense that it was still a brilliant album – certainly failed to ring true in this performance, following their current, somewhat New-Wave-inspired album.

New tracks like Deconstruction and Boneswere performed with an immensity of pop-power and inventive musical flare. Lucas, Memon and Balthazar were outstanding in their harmonies; guiding the orchestra along in what at some points felt like a competition between pure exhibition of musical talents and witty lyrics, vying to take centre stage. What was most clear after the encore is that both were winners in the end.

Here’s our favourite from their 2009 album, plus their new track Deconstruction

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