“It has only been two years but it feels like a decade” singer Simon Balthazar told me before the band took the stage at a sold-out return to New York at Mercury Lounge. “We never played this place before, but we know how important it is, so it is one to scratch off after tonight,” Simon continued. He has been recovering from a cold and only arrived in the US just days before to start a small tour to build some buzz for fans and road test brand new material for their forthcoming sophomore album, Rooms Filled with Light, which is due in February.
Taking the stage just after 8pm, Fanfarlo arrived on stage to thunderous applause and began playing new songs, never-before-heard from Rooms Filled with Light. The songs sound like Cold Wave infused folk, which shows the band’s maturity since their well received, mainly folk 2009 debut, Reservoir. After a few new tracks, it was right into “I’m a Pilot,” from Reservoir that brought the audiences smile from big to grand. The brilliance of Fanfarlo is in their musicianship, like many of their contemporaries – Arcade Fire, The National, Death Cab for Cutie – they all are multi-instrumentalists. Balthazar himself is most impressive, switching from guitar to saxophone to keyboards to percussion and singing of course. While band member Cathy Lucas goes from keys to violin and sings as well, Leon Beckenmen does a similar task however instead of violin it is trumpet which is weapon. The band’s musical fusion of jazz, modern classical, new wave, cold wave and folk is something to be admired, to take all of these elements and not deviate too much from the foundation of what their sonic sound truly is. In the hour long set Fanfarlo displayed, it was a humble comeback, yet when they return for full support of Rooms Filled with Light, it will be in bigger rooms filled with sound.
A full feature and interview with Simon will be arriving in the coming weeks, stay tuned!