A long overdue writeup of the Fanfarlo show a few weeks ago. I am, in fact, the laziest blogger ever.
Someday, I will give up and write a whiny blog post about all the things that concert-goers do that irritate me to no end. This is not that post; however, I will say that if you’re going to be doing your flailing Elaine-from-Seinfeld hipster dancing, maybe you should look for some open space on the floor instead of doing it where your practically-having-a-religious-experience movements aren’t shoving around people who are slightly less enthusiastic than you are. Just sayin’.
It goes without saying that the sold out crowd at Lincoln Hall absolutely loved Fanfarlo, the London-based indie rock quintet. Their album Reservoir was one of my favorites of 2009, so I was glad to get the chance to see them live, finally. My complaints about spastic dancing aside, the crowd was really into the show. Sometimes, the day job and the non-music-fiend friends make life get a little insular for me, so it was really awesome to be in a crowd who knew every word to every song from a band that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream consciousness yet.
Their performance was tight and polished as they tore through their songs from Reservoir, their sole full-length release to date. Though they chatted little with the crowd, the energy and positivity in their songs was pretty infectious. Everything about their show really exuded a happy sort of energy, from the songs themselves to their light-colored clothing, the stage decorations, and the lighting. Ideal for photos, A+! Sometimes things felt a bit too polished and nearly clinical — songs hardly deviated from the way they sound on the album, and everything just felt a bit overly well-oiled — but that didn’t really make the show less enjoyable. (It just made me over-analyze things, that’s all.)
The night’s first opening act was Robert Francis, of Los Angeles. I mean this in the best possible way, but he reminded me at times in his performance of John Mayer: blistering guitar solos, a little irreverent, and hilarious guitar faces. John Mayer without all the douchetastic tendencies, I guess. I was much more impressed with his live show than I was with his albums. His live show was energetic, loud, rock music, while the CD shows off a more low-key indie folk sort of style. Still great, but not what I was expecting after the live show. Francis closed his set with a cover of “Wild Horses”, and seemed genuinely thankful for the enthusiasm and attention of the audience.
Lawrence Arabia, the psych folk project of New Zealand’s James Milne, also opened for Fanfarlo. They took a little while to win me over, as it never quite seemed that they could pick a genre. Psych rock? Summery Beach Boys-esque harmonies? Pure delightful pop songs? I couldn’t tell. While I’m sick of hearing people describe music as “sun drenched”, it was also a pretty good descriptor for many of Lawrence Arabia’s songs. I was feeling it more by the end of the set, though, and actually wound up appreciating the genre-hopping. I think indie bands have been quick to jump on the four-or-five-part harmony bandwagon, especially since the success of Fleet Foxes, so if their entire set had been nothing but endearing songs in five-part major-chord harmony, I may have found things to get a little old, but their forays into more experimental psych rock kept things interesting.
Check out my set of photos on Flickr. With the bright lighting for Fanfarlo’s set, I think I caught a bunch of pretty good shots, for once.