The Fantasy Orchestra


Want to hear me croon?

I had great fun today performing with Bristol’s Fantasy Orchestra at the funkily titled café Roll for the Soul. The Fantasy Orchestra is a project run by a bit of a Bristol legend called Jesse D Vernon, formerly of  90’s hippie festival favourites The Moonflowers. Jesse truly is a one of a kind and has been responsible for many interesting projects such as his long running band, Morning Star, his ever evolving the Greatness of the Magnificence plus his continual involvement in BBC 6 music faves This Is The Kit.

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The terrific Jesse giving the audience cues to join in!

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The crowded venue earlier.  You could hardly swing an ewok in there!

The concept behind the Fantasy Orchestra is that it is open to everyone no matter what instrument they play. The selection of songs initially was centred on the incredible music of Ennio Morricone but has expanded to take in such disparate film score composers including Dominic Frontiere, John Barry, Alexander Courage,  Jimi Hendrix and R D Burman.   This is interesting music to play, Burman for instance is one of India’s seminal film score composers so it’s highly rewarding to perform in this Bollywood style.  Hendrix’s name may seem odd included amongst these cinematic composers but the arrangement the F.O performs of “1983 (a merman I should turn to be)”  reveal Hendrix’s music to having terrific film scoring potential.

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Here I am singing with the Orchestra, new years eve 2013 at The Cube, Bristol

The show today however featured a lovely song that was originally meant for Disney’s 1967 The Jungle Book but didn’t make the cut. It’s called Brothers All written by Terry Gilkyson. Jesse has a particular talent for locating obscure gems and performing them makes being involved with the Fantasy Orchestra such fun.  My original involvement within the ranks of the F.O had me playing bass (along side Eels, PJ Harvey producer John Parish) but due to being otherwise occupied I had to bow out. Upon rejoining at the tail end of last year and with the bass job now handled by the psychedelically funky Stefano Manfredi , Jesse asked me to sing lead vocals instead on a bunch of songs including this one, which is a low baritone crooning style.  This is in contrast to my normal quoggy wail style as ably demonstrated here.

Another element to playing within the Fantasy Orchestra is that we have to perform wearing whatever the dress code happens to be.  When we played at Bristol’s venerable Cube Cinema, new years eve 2013, the code was Wildermann. This is French photographer Charles Fréger name for his project of trying to capture the spirit of tribal Europe.  This resulted in some inspired outfits that evening!  There are many awesome photos of those outfits here.

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The Wildermann influenced look!

1 Comment

Filed under Performances

One response to “The Fantasy Orchestra

  1. asiohead

    Only saw it just now .. Waw, great to see you performing this Gaz, man of many talents 🙂 You really pull it off well ! Pretty amazing !

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