by Tara Morgan
Brit five-piece Fanfarlo invaded the Knitting Factory last night for a free show hosted by 94.9 The River. The band—framed by a carnival-esque strand of yellow lights—filled the half-full room with hits like “Luna,” “The Walls Are Coming Down” and “Harold T. Wilkins” off their first and only full-length Reservoir. In high-waisted white slacks, the adorably boyish Cathy Lucas switched effortlessly between violin and mandolin, layering sweet vocal harmonies over lead singer Simon Balthazar’s lovely, eerie warble.
The crowd was, unsurprisingly, exactly what you’d expect at a show where the majority of the audience won their tickets on the radio: Random.
A selection of cross-armed teens staked their claim at the front of the stage, while a few feet back, a sprinkling of 20-somethings tapped their toes and cast sideways glances at a ubiquitous tanked dude sloshing his drink and ironically waving a lighter. Even further back, the majority of the audience—old, young, couples on dates—sat politely at cocktail tables and took in the show.
Though the audience is rarely what stands out about a concert, it’s worthy mentioning in this particular instance because the band seemed noticeably perplexed by the assortment of folks in attendance. After selling out their first tour stop in Chicago, and packing venues with hipsters from Minneapolis to Salt Lake, it has got to be an odd turn to play a not-even-half-full show to an all-ages crowd mostly unfamiliar with your music.
But despite seemingly not being able to read the crowd, Fanfarlo put on a solid (though slightly short) show, whipping out a couple of new numbers and a double encore.
The opening band, Freelance Whales (which I sadly missed) I hear also put on a good show. Here’s a video from lastnight of the New York-based harmonium and waterphone-playing folk pop band busting out the song “Generator ^ First Floor” off their new album Weathervanes.