Back at the Ziegel oh Lac again on Friday night for Fanfarlo + Tilia. Freezing cold and snowy outside, hot, sweaty and smoky inside. Swiss band Tilia surprised us with a genuinely lovely and enjoyable performance. Original members Daniela (guitar, vocals) and Julia (cello, vocals) were joined last night by 3 new members (drums, a second cello and another girl on vocals). I hope that’s a permanent change, because they sounded really good as a 5-piece, with a fuller, more fleshed out sound. Quiet acoustic sets are good, but ones with sonorous extra cellos and drums are even better. Although the new additions were not yet fully integrated into the set (the new members often sat waiting to add their pieces, and sometimes when they did they came crashing in), when they all came together, on new track ‘Neighbourhood‘ for example, they sounded fantastic. A little fine tuning and I think they will be great. Good to see a Swiss band holding their own. Hope to see more of them.
Fanfarlo will probably never escape the comparisons between The Arcade Fire and Beirut, but still they deliver a fine, energetic performance that is worth heading out for on a snowy night. Channelling the dandys of the 1920s with their pastel button-down shirts, boat shoes, horn-rimmed glasses and side parts, they display their musical prowess by playing a rather dazzling array of instruments – mandolin, violin, trumpet, clarinet, guitar, a strange tubed xylophone and more. Cathy Lucas is particularly intense as she sings and plays the mandolin, violin, keyboards and xylophone. Singer Simon Balthazar’s voice is occasionally a little too whiny for my liking, but he makes up for it by being cheerful and dapper. Best in show is the yearning sweetness of ‘Comets‘ and the joyous slow stomp of the Arcade Fire-esque ‘I’m a Pilot‘ and ‘The Walls are Coming Down‘. Nice work, which the crowd definitely appreciated, singing and dancing along to all the songs.
Reservoir by Fanfarlo is out now