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Being an avid listener of Classical and Rock music, a night full of orchestral symphonies covering both genres was the perfect blend

BRISTOL: THE MARBLE FACTORY – 03rd February 2022

The crowd filled the venue with the only light provided from battery-lit candles which were placed on the floor and candlesticks adorning the stage, creating a Gothic and ecclesiastical setting. Taking centre position was a giant, horned red skull adorned with day of the dead decor which looked as though it was breaking through a church window. Ghost lights hung from above and neon skeletons stood on the sides, leaving minimal room for the musicians who were to adorn it later. I'm sure the setup would certainly suit a larger stage.

Background music and excited chatter filled the air as attendees occupied any remaining spaces on the floor and the balcony before the introductory music faded to genuine cheers of delight. All eyes were now focused onto the stage where two men appeared; one who was tall, the other slightly smaller in stature with cello in tow. This was the opening duo of multi-instrumental/vocalist Harrisen Larner-Main and Columbian cellist Santiago Luna who wore eye masks of differing types; Santiago's shimmering with diamonds, whilst Larner-Mains was more Phantom Of The Opera.

All chatter died down to absolute silence as Larner-Main kicked off their half hour warm up slot by hitting the keys and demonstrating his strong vocal range, with Santiago's meticulous prowess accompanying him. Larner-Main then stood up and donned an electro-acoustic guitar, displaying his multi-instrumental skills. Both musicians effortlessly produced the melodies to Radiohead's 'Creep', where the audience were energetically encouraged to join in for the choruses, to which they obliged without much coercion. At times I honestly thought flames would start rising from the friction of Santiago's bowing speed, which was a sight to behold at many a time. The duo's energetic and unique take on other Rock classics such as Fleetwood Mac's 'Go Your Own Way', Tom Petty's 'Freefalling' and ending with The Killers 'Human' certainly got the crowd (and the cold air) warmed up ready for the main act.

Being an avid listener of Classical and Rock music, a night full of orchestral symphonies covering both genres was the perfect blend for me, and as members of the London Symphonic Orchestra (Festival Of The Dead) took their positions with instruments in tow, dressed in Day Of The Dead garb, eye-masks and face paint, the silent crowd reverently looked to the stage. The lead violinist struck her first note to kick off an instrumental version of Guns N' Roses' 'Sweet Child Of Mine' and the whole room became ablaze, not only with roaring cheers, but with strobe lights and pyros jetting up from the front which electrified the atmosphere further. All the talented musicians were certainly giving it their upmost. Whether it was because the lead violinist was in the spotlight, or because of her fervent playing and energetic bouncing, my attention was solely on her for most of the concert.

Larner-Main, adorned in a suit and tailcoats, graced the stage, coaxing the audience into interacting by singing keywords from verses and choruses. A smile was evident on mine and other faces when the glockenspiel chimed in for Billy Idol's 'White Wedding'. The joy was exasperated when the huge skull and arms started to sway and jiggle in time with the notes to tracks like Queens Of The Stone Age's 'No One Knows' and the solemn and emotive version of 'Stairway To Heaven'. At this point I gazed around the room at everyone, wholly engaged with the beautiful notes gliding through the airwaves. I got quite emotional with this being my first gig outside of lockdown and the feeling of togetherness was almost too much.

This feeling of serene peace was short-lived as the orchestra revved straight in to Motörhead's 'Ace Of Spades' and RATM's 'Killing In The Name Of' which brought forth unexpected mosh pits and energetic headbangers. Ending with a rendition of Eurythmics' 'Sweet Dreams', the air filled with applause and deafening cheers. Having heard these songs many times in the conventional way, the well thought out compositions used each instrument to its advantage, making the tracks striking, emotive and brought a whole new dimension of aural pleasure.

Sonia Cavill

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