SXSW showcase reviews

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Galaxy Room Backyard, Wednesday, March 17

Either Fanfarlo has the most fastidious roadie in rock & roll, or the sound system at the Galaxy Room Backyard (a tent over a patch of alley behind Sixth Street) needs tweaking. The London quintet, kitted out in crisp Oxford button-downs, lost a solid 15 minutes of playing time to the crew fussing over the wedges, and so were only able to turn in a six-song set of fastidious Euro pop to the packed tent. They kicked things off with an a cappella introduction to "The Walls Are Coming Down," followed by "Finish Line," but it wasn't until they segued into "Harold T. Wilkins" that the sound finally evened out and the band sounded its most confident. The midway point featured a new song with a great big humming bass topped with the delicate strains of singer Simon Balthazar's mandolin, to unsettling effect. During the rollicking "Ghosts," the monitors started to go all tinny, but time was running out anyway. Fanfarlo topped the abbreviated set with a sped-up "Luna," featuring a hooter and a clarinet, two of the least sexy instruments in rock. Until now.

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