Review: The Fantasy Orchestra – Leonard Cohen Celebration @ The Lantern

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The Fantasy Orchestra
The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol
Thursday 8th February 2018

2016 will always be an awful year. With the death of many a great, there appeared to be no more fateful a day than when Leonard Cohen died. It was also the day Trump was made President. Cohen may have sung “Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.”, yet these facts are unreal even now. Trudging to Bristol for a tribute concert was always an enticing endeavour. Cohen who was a poet first and then a singer has left audiences transfixed with sensual verse and funky, folksy song, a hallmark of his craft. His songs are what you need them to be: evocative yet brimming with a direct cut, unlike any other poet.

The Fantasy Orchestra is a community lead organisation who have done concerts and tributes for a few years. Although I myself am not in tune with the gig going experience, I was down for this special tribute to one of my favourite singers. With an electric set of singers, the orchestra went through his back catalogue from the last 40 years. Although ‘First We Take Manhattan’ was not on the programme (a personal favourite of mine) there was plenty here to appease most appetites.

Whilst most singers were smashing, the odd one felt like a curious choice. Jimmy Goodrich made a great host, given some of the classics, whilst Davide Arioso was our gruff, punk addition for the evening, though I remain unsure if Anthem should have gone too soon else. Duncan Fleming doing a solo for Story of Issac was a highlight, as was Lady Nade and Emily Brezze doing renditions of Tower of Song and the eternal Susanne. Each singer brought their own charm and style to each number and the mood was so relaxed no one seemed to have been met with criticism.

Poetry by Tim Burroughs was also welcomed with tributes paid in verse to the late, great Canadian. We could not have left without singing his now most famous song Hallelujah, in a mostly sing along type affair. The atmosphere of the whole evening was laid back and had a great accessibility

This is the type of group we need in Cardiff as well.

Rating: ****

Photo Credit: Colton Hall Website

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