It's kind of amazing to think that before this week Fanfarlo's only other New York show was at last year's CMJ, at LES club Fat Baby which holds about 50 people and was not full when they played. Less than a year later, with absolutely zero coverage from Pitchfork (I mean nothing, do a search) the London band sells out Bowery Ballroom and brings a big crowd to Bell House (deep in Brooklyn) the next night. A big part of this is having a stellar album, Resevoir, which the band sold online for One Dollar for nearly a month. But it's also their deserved reputation as a swoon-worthy live band. Their SXSW performance at Austin's Central Presbyterian Church will make my Best Shows of 2009, but the Bell House show comes close. Apparently there were technical difficulties (of the tuning variety) for a stretch but I didn't notice, what with the trumpets, glockenspiels, melodicas, violins, musical saws, and other accents. My only complaint is the set was too short, barely an hour, and no pre-album singles like "Fire Escape," "We Live by the Lake" or "You Are One of the Few Outsiders That Understand Us." There was, however, melting moments like "Comets" and "Luna" which closed out the set.
MP3: Fanfarlo – Luna (buy it)
We also got a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" which might have been just a bit too on-the-nose for a band that already draws comparisons to Arcade Fire and Beirut (which are superficial, Fanfarlo have their own thing going), but I thought it was lovely nonetheless.
If you were unable to attend one of Fanfarlo's shows this week, don't fret, NYCers. They'll be back in a month for CMJ, where they're playing two shows so far, both on October 20: a Music Slut day party at Pianos, and then that night at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg. I would not be surprised to see them play a few more later in the week.
In other related news, Fanfarlo were augmented live on this tour by multi-talented Jeremy Warmsley, who is well-known within the new London folk scene (or is that the London new folk scene) that has also set forth Emmy the Great, Laura Marling, the Wave Pictures, Lightspeed Champion and others. I really like his new album, How We Became, which came out early this year on Transgressive. (He's also got a new band, Acre's Acres, which he says should only be pronounced in an American accent.) He's sticking around the city an extra day to play a solo acoustic show at Pianos tonight. He's on at 8PM, though Pianos has never been known for sticking to schedules.
MP3: Jeremy Warmsley – How We Became (buy it)