Fanfarlo appeared at Webster Hall on March 6th to play new songs from their latest release, Rooms Filled with Light. Listening to this album, it seems like a strong collaborative effort by the London-based quintet. They fuse layers of indie pop with folk instrumentation that creates the group mentality of a jam. But seeing them on stage, fans realize that the band is more a vision of frontman Simon Balthazar, as he calls the shots from center stage. As the singer/songwriter with a rich baritone of a ‘80s pop star, he commands the group in its musicality and pacing of the show. After opening the night with the first track of their new album, “Replicate”, he offered a cheery hello, thanking the crowd for coming to see them. Balzathar explained how these new songs were like having a second baby, so he was hoping they were to the audience’s liking. He also called the red lights in the venue the “fires of hell” and gave a Swedish language lesson in his native tongue to say, “skål” as he drank white wine out a bottle.
Behind the band, a hexagon-shaped screen was used for footage of bikes, flora and other such random items. The set was sprinkled with hits from their first release, 2009’s Reservoir, such as “I’m a Pilot”, “Comets”, “Luna” and “Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time”. These older, better known songs were greeted warmly as people chimed in with the familiar lyrics. But these selections also came off as the stronger compositions, barring the single “Shiny Things”. (An accompanying light show of sparkling dots behind the band added to the allure of the majestic melody.) For the encore, a mellow new song entitled “Bones” was presented before Fanfarlo’s biggest hit, “The Walls Are Coming Down”. With a building introduction into this tale of delusions by the Italian priest Pellegrino Ernetti, the night ended with everyone in the audience swaying back and forth while singing together.