For any of you newbies to the site, or basically those of you who haven’t transplanted from my old site, here is a brief introduction to Live Friday. At the end of every work week, I take a few moments to feature some cool or unique live performances from various artists. These are typically radio sessions, though sometimes they’re full “in concert” mp3s with crowds and the occasional echo. I tend to favor radio sessions though, due to the quiet of the studio and smart management of sound levels. Low quality bootleg recordings aren’t typically my thing, so if you’re in the mood to hear a brand new song from some band that they played live and some guy with a mic hidden in his hat recorded, you may want to go somewhere else. And again, this is a once a week thing and it’s intended to be loose and fun.
For the inaugural Live Friday on this brand new site, I’ve chosen to look back to 2009 and hand over a pretty great session from the band Fanfarlo. If you haven’t heard the band’s album “Reservoir” yet, I have to say it’s an excellent record that I wish I could have highlighted more last year. Which, coincidentally, is one of the main reasons why I feel that featuring a live session from them now is an a-ok idea. The sound of Fanfarlo both defies description yet lends itself to easy comparison. Singer Simon Balthazar tends to sound an awful like Beirut’s Zach Condon, and with the orchestral swells and folk base, things can get a bit bombastic and epic. The band may never quite soar to the heights that The Arcade Fire so often scale, but they do an admirable job creating large, dramatic songs with choruses you want to shout to the rooftops. This live session from WXPN was recorded last November when the band was touring around the U.S. In it, the band’s extensive instrumentation is stripped down to an acoustic guitar, some drums, and the occasional glockenspiel or xylophone. In other words, it’s an acoustic session, but it never loses touch with the band’s core sound. If you’re at all curious about the interview (which you can stream via the link below), the band talks about how they got together, how their sound was established, and whether or not there’s a theremin used in their songs. It’s alright, but the session is the real prize gem here and I hope you enjoy it.