Monday, September 28, 2009


This being my first gig for a couple of weeks PLUS it being Fanfarlo - still in pole position for my favourite album of the year - meant that I had very high expectations of the evening.

However finding out on the day that Fanfarlo and support First Aid Kit were switching slots (promo duties for FAK apparently) I realised this meant a shortened set for Fanfarlo. Plus the band had only arrived back from touring the USA today, no doubt jet-lagged. And I started the afternoon two hundred miles from The Deaf Institute, now with the knowledge the band I wanted to see had an early start. It didn't have the makings of a good evening.

I am pleased to say however Fanfarlo delivered. They took to the stage just after 9pm for an acoustic three-person version of "Drowning Men" - guitar, mandolin and drums - with the rest of the band coming on stage for "I Am A Pilot". Sadly I was right - shortened set. Only nine songs - two new though with one "Noose" making its live debut apparently - with no encore and no "Fire Escape" ("we'll save it for next time").

However focusing on the positives: the band did not look as though they had just flown back to the UK. They looked well-rested and relaxed and gave their songs either the swoon, the swoop or the grandeur they have on record with a bit of live edge too. And throughout the set they showed the inventiveness that marks out "Resevoir" as exceptional (if you haven't heard it yet, drop everything to do so). "The Walls Are Coming Down" started with stomping feed and accapella introduction, new song "Atlas" featured bowed saw, "Comets" and "Luna" featured melodica and clarinet with Simon providing extra drumming for the latter, the came-too-soon final song. And throughout the touches of trumpet and violin were lovely.

"Resevoir" has too many great songs to name a favourite but this one is currently on repeat in my head:

The Set List:
First Aid Kit followed and at first I didn't really pay the duo the attention they deserved - partly because the 'main attraction' had been and gone but also because they appeared a bit tentative. But slowly their affecting solo-guitar-and-twin-voices country-blues took a hold. Being Swedish I was expecting something quite twee but they were more Loretta Lynn than Labrador Records with a quite spooky mountain folk quality to their own songs and the covers of Fleet Foxes and Buffy Saint-Marie they gave. Opinion was divided amongst the folk I was with (no attributable comments allowed) but they got a hugely positive reception from the crowd tonight. Their full-length album is out in January.

There are much better photographs on this evening from FishPlums on Flickr. And a mention to Table who started the evening. I was expecting to miss them but was so glad to catch the last four songs or so: frail, acoustic folky orch-pop performed by a six piece with four piece harmonies. Quite lovely. Local lads and lass apparently with a single out in December. Ones to watch if you like your music hushed.

Resevoir [BUY]

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