Thursday, 8 March 2012

Review: Spaghetti Western Orchestra at De Montfort Hall, 7/3/12

Spaghetti Western Orchestra at De Montfort Hall, 7/3/12
Some background; the Spaghetti Western Orchestra are a five piece Australian group playing the music that Ennio Morricone wrote to score the western movies of Sergio Leone. They’ve been a hit since they debuted at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2007, and made a lot more friends on their Later With Jools appearance. They tour relentlessly and seem to go down a storm whichever town they ride into. It was no different in Leicester on a miserable Wednesday night.

So, the five: The Storyteller, The Youngfeller, The Bankteller, The Lieteller and The Gold Schmeller. All pasty white and consumptive thousand yard stares, they come armed with over a hundred ‘instruments’ between them, a full orchestra of bangers and buzzers, strings, brass, drums and synths – more details later. They begin with perhaps the most haunting, elegiac piece in Morricone’s oeuvre, “Man With The Harmonica” from “Once Upon A Time In The West”. It sets the mood brilliantly, before segueing straight into the main theme from “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”. From then on it’s all your favourites performed on everything from an Asthma inhaler to Tasmanian lottery balls. It was just dandy to see a Theremin used in a live setting and who knew the musical potential of packaging tape or Kellogg’s finest. Well… they did, and it’s all quite brilliant. Add to that all sorts of harmonic hums and ahhhs, expert whistling and comedy links.

The encore with ritual vegetable abuse, providing a substantial chunky mixed salad for the front two rows – I’m not sure which film that’s from – and then it’s back to “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” and some mass audience participation. It’s a fitting finale with one half of the audience playing the Good, the other half, the Bad, and a bloke in the fourth row playing the Ugly. I know him, and frankly, it was the right choice.
Rob F.

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