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Fanfarlo's astral-inspired pop heats up Dante's

Fanfarlo live concert at Dante's, Portland OR


London’s Fanfarlo brought their full array of instrumented pop to Dante’s March 28, and played a melodic-rich night of music. The band featured five newly penned tracks from their latest release, Let’s Go Extinct. The crowd was treated to a lush display of harmonies between frontman Simon Balthazer and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cathy Lucas, smartly attired in a sharply tailored business suit. Balthazar, cordially lead the band through a 75-minute set encompassings songs from the bands three albums.

Fanfarlo at Dante's
Fanfarlo at Dante's
Pat Herrera

Fanfarlo started their set with the swelling brightness of Ghost before shifting into the first new track from Let’s Go Extinct, Life In The Sky, and its joyous ode to the stars above. After playing the optimistic, bouncy beat of Deconstruction, Balthazar briefly paused to share with the audience that the next song had a dual inspiration, equal parts about the galaxy and the body, Cell Song, which drifted along with a swaying introspection our external and internal universes.

Next were three more astral themed songs, gliding through the waltzing I’m A Pilot, then the punchy-turned-subtle floating transit of Luna, and then the drifting balladry of Comet.

What makes a Fanfarlo concert such a delight is the talented multi-instrumentalists, creating an orchestra of sound out of a five-piece band. While Balthazer held down the lead vocals and guitar, he switch from his axe to sax and dueled with trumpet-keyboardist and backing vocalist Leon Beckenhamo on Tunguska, that ended with a wafting vocal chorus between Balthazar and Lucas. And all the while was the seamless rhythm section of bassist Justin Finch and drummer Valentina Magaletti.

Fanfarlo eased into two more new songs, both possessing an enraptured breeziness and was the tone of their evening’s performance. First up was the tropical swing of Landlocked with its synthed steel drums, and A Distance, with its airy 80s dance feel weaved amidst the everyday challenges of meaningful conversation.

Before starting the last song, Baltazar graciously thanked the crowd for coming out and announced there wouldn’t be an encore. But the crowd cheered loudly for more, yelling requests for The Walls Are Coming Down. With astonishment and slight hesitation, Balthazar conceded, and agreed to play a couple more. The appreciative Dante's crowd roared with approval.

Fanfarlo then played Harold T. Wilkins before Balthazar lead the band through another new track, Let’s Go Extinct, and the finale, The Walls Are Coming Down.

The show was opened by a special unbilled guest, Highasakite, the Norwegian synth-pop band which gave a stirring 30-minute, 6-song set behind the enigmatic adn demur lead vocalist, Ingrid Helene Håvik.

Highasakite was followed and Lilies On Mars, the Italian pop duo that is Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo, who provided their own stylized techno-pop for the show.

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