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The Velveteen Orkestra
The Velveteen Orkestra are a ragged-trousered rock and roll orchestra conceived in a leaky, shadow-veiled district of South London. Bellowing out from underneath the grey brutalist tower blocks named in honour of romantic poets is a sound that is both savage, yet elegant… animal, yet noble… honest, yet fantastical.
The band’s debut album (Shadow & Whimsy) was three-years in the making and came after a studio fire had ravaged their entire work to date, leaving them with nothing. Their pulsating live shows are attracting audiences for their rich romanticism and brooding intensity, as well as their sparkling sense of humour. Lead Singer/Guitarist Dan Shears emits a gilt-edged voice from a spindle-limbed frame, evoking memories of Jeff Buckley at his heart-aching best. The vocal intertwining created by he, Megan Affonso (‘Cello & Voice) and Lindsey Oliver (Double-Bass & Voice) is the glimmering crest of a surging tidal wave of carnivalesque opulence coupled with post-punk venom and snarl. Sarah Boughton’s (Violin) often piercing top lines summon up the blood from a gypsy’s curse and Alan Dunn’s touch on the piano has all the passion and drama of a tragic Shakespearean romance. Nick Van Vlaenderen’s percussive anchorage forms the skeleton upon which the others dress the flesh. The sum of these parts is an intoxicating brand of melancholic alternative rock with nodding acquaintances towards rockabilly and folk noir.