VENUE: Brudenell Social Club, Hyde Park, Leeds
THEY are said to be David Bowie’s new favourite band.
So with the legendary Ziggy Stardust giving them the thumbs-up I went along to check out Fanfarlo at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.
With its scruffy red carpets, snooker tables, disco lights, and pints a plenty, you’d be fooled into thinking the Brudenell is just your typical working men’s club.
But look past the 80s shiny disco balls and you see the club has transformed itself into a gig venue, comedy club and arts centre.
Without all the pomp and pretence of a city centre gig, the Brudenell has a relaxed atmosphere, and is located right at the heart of young and hip Hyde Park.
First on were First Aid Kit, Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg– one on guitar and one on the keyboard.
Their first song was really interesting, a folksy, guitar-lead tune overlapped by haunting vocal harmonies.
But the first was like the second, which was like the third...
And by the end the discordant harmonies were really grating on me.
The crowd seemed disinterested as they lulled on the seats on the edges of the room, or by the bar chatting away.
One of the sisters seemed annoyed as she sarcastically commented about how the audience must have lots to talk about.
Fanfarlo were a welcome change to the wailing voices of First Aid Kit.
The five-piece are fronted by Swedish singer Simon Balthazar and hail from London.
Their semi-acoustic indie folk music is like that made popular by the Fleet Foxes and sounds almost identical to Arcade Fire but less polished.
The band play all sorts of musical instruments from trumpet to bass to drums and keyboard.
It’s all mixed together making the songs almost instrumental as the lyrics are drowned out.
Sometimes I did wonder why the band needed to play all the instruments at the same time – creating a muggy, slurry sound.
But Cathy Lucas’s violin playing was fresh and sharp over the bass guitar.
Towards the end Fanfarlo jumped off the small semi-circular stage and joined First Aid Kit on the floor in the middle of the crowd for an acoustic set.
It was the first time I’d really seen the crowd get involved in the music as they gathered around to watch the two bands jam together.
So Fanfarlo might be Bowie’s favourite band but I found nothing particularly new or fresh about their sound.