Cheltenham Town Hall 11/07/12
To watch the Fugata Quintet is to drift and delve from Europe to Latin America, into Parisian cafes and Tango dancers’ brawls, through chases down cobbled streets and balcony lovers’ recitals.
Despite their unassuming appearance (quietly walking on stage they could have been a handsome band of accountants), the Quintet captured the town hall from their first fiery notes and led us through a worldly plot of tragedy, comedy, and deceitful exploits. Well, I have no idea of the plot from Horacio Ferrer’s Operita Maria de Buenos Aires, where some of tonight’s set list come from, but the sound was enough to turn your imagination into scenes of sword-drawn tension, endearing sunset longing and sharp twists of surprise.
The pianist’s solo starting off Adios Nonino has you somersaulting on her emotive turns; an angry avalanche of notes, tailing off with an eerie and sparse climax, before the accordion cheerfully sparks off the rhythm and the quintet smoothly builds into the searingly sweet and exceptional track.
Full of sinister atmosphere and bite,Vayamos al Diablo, another highlight, really tumbles you down the rabbit hole. Like a kind of serious fun, many of the tracks toy with the audience. They may entrance you in with an uprising rhythm, and then without warning spiral you through a menacing riff and the pining of a lovesick violin. There are spaces of quiet between the fiery hooks, calm that accentuates the power. For 45 minutes they shifted through emotions with an authentic fluidity, before taking a modest bow and cooly walking off stage.
The Quintet are:
Živorad Nikolić– accordian
Anastasios Mavroudis– violin
Antonis Hatzinikolaou– guitar
Anahit Chaushyan– piano
James Opstad– double bass