We had a great time watching The FB Pocket Orchestra on Friday night. The Lights arena was the ideal venue for it. The atmosphere was laid back and quiet. The audience was not that big. I think I counted around 50 people, but all were very attentive.
The band members entered the arena and proudly walked through the audience to the stage where there was setup an american tuba, a cornet, a clarinet, a banjo (a rather famous one as we were to discover), a guitar, a washboard, some brushes which looked like they were for polishing shoes, a microphone, a bass drum pedal, a bass harmonica and three cajons. Pause for breath, Katy aaaaaand continue.
The members were dressed up in all the 1920's gear. The men wore flat caps and the lady wore a beautiful sequenced dress with an immaculate hairdo typical of the era. They each took their places on the stage and began.
The female singer/clarinet player was wonderful. Her voice was smooth like silk; very easy listening and reminiscent of those club scenes in films like The Great Gatsby or Poirot - when clubs used to be good.
The general musicianship of each member was of a very high level. Their improvisational skills were really impressive. Everything was tasteful and stylistically fitting. The guitarist/banjo player laid down a lovely foundation in each song, very Django Reinhardt. Lovely trucking rhythms. The clarinet was gorgeous. In the words of Bing "a stick with a lick." The Cornet player was just an all round talented guy. He also played the bass harmonica, the washboard and also had a great voice. Of course the guy playing the Tuba was creating all of those lovely bass notes I personally have an affinity with! Most songs included beautiful interweaving melodies from the soloist. The instrumentation was very interesting. I loved the use of cajons. some members provided percussion when not coming out with some fantastic jazz improv. The banjo was played beautifully. They did happen to mention that it was on loan to them from the Temperance Seven which me and quite a few of the other audience members "oohed" and "aahd" about. Although I only really know the one from my flashback to the 60's album my parents bought me when I was little, I still loved it!
The group's onstage appreciation of each other was to be admired. If someone happened to play something particularly cheeky there was an obvious vocal approval from other band members - if they didn't have their lips wrapped around the mouthpiece of a very large horn that is!
The endings were perfect every time. You always know you've got it right when there is that perfect split second of silence between the final note and the roaring applause. Now, I don't know how much of a roaring applause 50 people can achieve but I have to say I was impressed. They got it right every time.
FB Pocket Orchestra really hit the spot for me. Hats off to The Lights for another successful event. Looking forward to the next one!
Here is an idea of some of the songs they played.
Exactly Like You
Love Sick Blues
When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful
The Old Bazaar in Cairo
Baby Won't You Please Come Home
3 O'clock Waltz