Brooklyn baroque pop eight piece San Fermin descended on London Town on Monday evening to demonstrate their creativity and surpassable musicianship as a unit. Following the release of their sophomore release ‘Jack Rabbit’ the group went about recreating the majestic LP in all its textured glory for the revellers gathered in Camden’s Jazz Cafe.
Intimate though it may be, the event was a complete sell out due to the runaway cult success of their eponymous debut which broke borders and earned the group a loyal following on British shores. They begin expectedly with ‘The Woods’, the fragmented and unassuming progressive folk ditty that shakes with such ferocity it appears as though it could self destruct at any moment. These tones are translated well as the band comes together and apart all at once for a surging, twitching crescendo.
They continue with the following two tracks ‘Ladies Mary’ and ‘Emily’ which allow each lead vocalist to take the helm and not only showcase but command. The almost operatic qualities of Charlene Kaye which strayed ever so often into Kate Bush/Debbie Harry territory juxtapose in a startling manner to the sultry, unassured way in which Allen Tate sings and presents himself to the audience. The first reach back to the debut comes in the form of ‘Crueler Kind’ and marks a turning point in the gig as the energy levels reach fever pitch as each musician appears intent on destroying their own personal piece of the staging. The crowds applause are deafening and elongated at its finale and the group quickly capitalises on this with an anthemic performance of ‘Parasites’ which successfully merges the two performance styles effortlessly and to maximise the fast growing frenetic energy within the room.
The thought and practice that must have been devoted to the setlist and performance in commendable as each musician has their own time to shine, whether it be a saxophone breakdown or a chilling string section. ‘Parasites’ somehow over-shadows the finale of ‘Jack Rabbit’ yet its own sweeping choruses and whimsical lyrics evoke mass clap and singalong. By the finale San Fermin have excellent band rapport and the vibes are easily translated to their crowds and although the audience may not have known every track, the incredible level of instrumental prowess displayed tonight engaged them throughout.