The Dragon's Den
El Radio Fantastique
February 07, 2005
El Radio Fantastique played dark, theatrical music at The Dragon's Den Lundi Gras evening. The local quintet's old-timey and reckless carnival sound was topped with romantic, frank lyrics.
El Radio Fantastique created meticuously woven, floaty music. It was slow, sad swing that made a few audience members on the packed floor dance with wavy, dramatic hand motions. The band performed orchestral, coy toy instrument marches, along with mid-tempoed, sleepy-eyed, deviant shufflers.
El Radio Fantastique's sitting Rock had no snapping snare or driving bass drum. Drummer Jay performed with a full kit, but he used brushes and dull sticks to only provide a barely discernible rhythm and drops of color.
Vocalist/pianist June DiMorente drew from her synthesizer sweet tones reminiscent of a music box during "Stephanie." This creepy waltz's lyrics were sung by vocalist and guitarist Giovanni DiMorente, who wrote all the songs: "Stephanie, Stephanie/Your angels still watch over me/But now they seem to pity me/Without you, Stephanie."
El Radio Fantastique's songs were equally propelled by June and Giovanni. He sang heavy, breathy lyrics into an old school silver metal mic. Giovanni's Phantom-like delivery was fitting, considering the music had a ghostly feel. He also released a shrill, falsetoed scream during "Dead Tired."
Cellist Angela and violinist Walt added an Eastern atmosphere to the concert. The band's choice of instruments--which included a theremin, banjo, organ, and bongos--was open-minded. During one song Giovanni held the bongos beneath one knee and pounded them with mallets.
El Radio Fantastique--the house band in Purgatory.
Giovanni and June, both from California, started playing music together in New Orleans in early 2003. They married in April of 2004 and put El Radio Fantastique together last October. Their only recording is "Stories For Little Atoms," a 17 song album. They will release a second album of Giovanni and June songs this Summer.