Mario Marco Farinato – “Barber Shop Concert”/ “Willin’”– Singles Review
I’ve always gotten the feeling that Mario Marco Farinato was born to make music. Judging purely on his level of dedication to the art…from audio to video, from his own songs to the music of others, I genuinely find this guy to be truly inspiring in just how much of himself he gives to the craft & how much time he’s willing to spend creating, recording, writing. Even free-flowing through his material, like you’ll find him doing in the “Barber Shop Concert” where he’ll take you on a trip through his own experiences, memories, & nostalgia like an audible journal – I swear everything this guy does is seriously fascinating.
He’s taken his music a step further in the direction of accessibility with the video for Mario’s “Barber Shop Concert” – he’ll provide the English translation for the thoughts & inspirations that occur along this adventure; you’ll find sincerity, authenticity, important information, and even humor in what’s being said & sung. Smartly sharing the screen throughout the video, you’ll see these inspirations & memories come to life visually on one side while he plays live for us off in the opposite corner, in what’s truly a breathtaking and remarkable performance all-around. The stunning musicianship of Mario Marco Farinato, aka Panchopigna, is always something you can bank on to be completely worth your time. According to the notes I’ve got here, each sound you’ll hear occurring in the mix from the videos on display to the right of him are part of what inspires the song he’s playing – it’s an incredibly clever way of adding a genuinely personal touch to this performance…MAN do I dig this guy!
The “Barber Shop Concert” will take you peacefully & passionately through a set of several songs entwined into a fourteen minute long experience. I won’t give EVERYTHING away here in this review, because he’s put a lot of effort into what you’ll see onscreen and you SHOULD hit it up to get how this all comes together instead of just reading my words about it…they won’t do this man the justice he deserves. But to give you an example, the first song of the set called “TRIP” was ‘inspired by the seagulls singing’ – a true sign that you never know exactly WHAT will inspire Mario & his music next, but that he can verifiably be inspired by the world surrounding him from all angles, and everything it has to offer. So much like he’s mentioned, you’ll hear authentic seagulls singing on “TRIP” as the video plays beside him and this song that he wrote shortly after getting up in the morning gorgeously develops. And I seriously mean that…the dude’s guitar has such a beautiful sound to it, ultimately part of the instrument itself, but certainly enhanced & brought out even more to the surface by the way that Mario plays it. I dig seein’ him havin’ fun in the water with family & friends on the right through his visual memory-book come to life onscreen, I completely dig the big pig in the water (AWESOME!) and I love that you really get that vibrant mix of melancholy and distance in the sound of “TRIP” that completely draws on that nostalgic feeling we can all relate to. With so many vivid memories of his own on display, I can only imagine that’s ultimately the intention here…that while we might be watching Mario’s memories onscreen, if we were to close our eyes at any given moment of “TRIP,” we’d drift right into our own.
Mario! My brother from another mother why didn’t you tell me you smoke weed before bro? We should have been hanging out months ago and lighting up some celebratory greenery! The onscreen details of “I.T.C.” will inform you he’s more than happy to chill out in the forest and smoke a lil’ something to meditate & reflect. All I wanna know is if I smoke what he’s smoking – will I be able to create art like he makes too? I mean…I like to think I haven’t been skimping on quality around here at any given point over the past couple DECADES, but maybe he’s got himself a magical supply of musically enhance buds I should be checking more closely into! Maybe we all should! Party at Mario’s house – let’s go! I’ll hit it up later, you guys go on without me…I got a few more thoughts to write out & finish up first when it comes to “I.T.C.” – like FUN FACT, it’s originally a Gaelic ballad written in Varese! For real – WATCH this guy play…he uses an excellent tapping technique while playing the guitar flat on its back as he always does…like we’re talking seriously cool & innovative…it almost reminds me of…what is that song…”The Badger” by The Tea Party I think? It’s got that similar sound of swirling guitars and uplifting majestic sound in the mix that sounds brilliantly sweet and really well played. Is it spot-on perfection? Mario would tell you no in a heartbeat I’d bet – but it’s seriously so damn close that most people would never notice, he’s just the kind of artist that isn’t worried about perfection so much as he is inclined to embrace those imperfections that make music a truly memorable experience we can connect to. I think he might shift into a new song, or a transition into a part two; there’s a noticeable break in between around the six-minute mark, and then Mario shifts into an absolutely killer melody that includes slide technique, harmonics, and complex structure with ease. Put it to you this way – if it’s not entirely improv – which it’s definitely not for the record – then he’s got a ton to remember just to play this song – there’s SO MUCH going on in the melody and different parts it requires. So of course, you know, Mario had to go and somehow make it even MORE challenging for himself by singing as well – NO BIG DEAL for this all-star, just another day at the office in the life of Mario Marco Farinato. He wrestles with emotions of all kinds in the lyrics of this song…and he’s done a great job of creating unique imagery, he sings it well…I’ve got no complaints personally – but I do think it’s like, damn near impossible to take your ears off of just how incredible the guitar-work is that goes into this song.
You get the best dose of his personality and charm on display heading towards the eleventh minute, before the final song. Let’s just say that Mario will remind ya, it’s live, it’s not meant to be perfectly played – it’s meant to become a perfect moment, even if there are fuckups along the way. “After all the F words,” he moves on to the last song, which translates to “Postcard From Callisto” – and apparently it’s based on the story of a ‘photographer who’s scared to make pictures of the stars because there are too many witches at night.’ Like I said earlier – you never know what to expect might inspire Mario next and that right there my friends, is certainly proof! He gets such AMAZING sounds out of his tapping & chords on “Postcard From Callisto” once he’s tuned-up and rolling along – and vocally, I think he does probably gives his own best performance of the set on this particular song. There’s a sweet & humble sway of vocalizations that occur outside of the words on this song that has that like…I mean, there’s no real way to describe it – it’s that same feeling you’d get when listening to a song like Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” when he gets to the ‘da-da-da-da-da-da-da’ parts, you know what I mean? It’s really just a hum I suppose, but Mario uses it extremely well surrounding the verse and chorus of this song. Beautiful words to this song…sincerely sung…captivatingly played as ever by the main star of the show – it’s a perfect ending to what’s truly been an incredibly intimate, isolated, and authentically awesome experience – the “Barber Shop Concert” is a magical moment in time not to be missed out on.
As a bonus for ya – Mario’s got a Christmas gift for you before Santa even arrives this year – a live track that he cut from his time at his own Barbershop, there to play for the 115th week of Steemit Open Mic. What makes this particular cut perhaps just 10% cooler to review than any other song could possibly be, is that we have very close ties with one of the original band-members from where this cover tune has come from – none other than Paul Barrere of the timeless band Little Feat. Of course we know him from the aftermath of his time spent in Little Feat – we found Paul through the fine people at Better Daze Records where he’s been recording under his own name now with his cohort as the duo of Roger Cole & Paul Barrere, who we’ve featured in some way, shape, or form, in just about everything we’ve done over the past five years from time to time. So I’d imagine…that even after all this time…it’s still gotta be bloody cool for Paul to hear one of the old tracks come to life again in the here & now via another artist’s perspective, sound, & style – I’ll have to make sure to tag those amazing people at Better Daze Records & hopefully, Paul will get a chance to listen. I’m sure he’d like what he finds here, just as I’m sure you will as well…Mario’s full of natural style & technique that truly makes him a unique & innovative player – there’s a mesmerizing value in that combination that really pulls you in to listen. And to watch! The man clearly has fun up there on stage and before his songs begin in either of these new videos – but you’ll always see that when it’s game-time and there’s music to be played, he’s focused 100%…there is the work of an artist to be done – and he commits powerfully to each moment.
Even from the way things are recorded you can tell he’s got an incredible ear for sound…I dig the way he gets his audio mixed from these live performances. “Willin’” sounds freakin fantastic – I love how a great melody can translate from language to language with such ease like this. They say math is the universal language, but fuck all that noise – I couldn’t multiply a fraction if my life depended on it at this point and I’ve done my best to expel any of that stuff from my brain since ‘learning’ it years ago…if that’s even what you could call it. Numbers of any kind have never interested me…not from the ones taught in schools to the ones we see out there in the promotion-based landscape of modern-day music. I mean, I’m sure Mario’s obviously put the work into creating his own cover of “Willin’” here and had to learn how to play it but like…c’mon…music has gotta be more universal than math doesn’t it? What a unique style of musicianship that Marco has…I honestly couldn’t tell ya what’s tougher between the traditional way a player would play a guitar and the laid-down on his lap method that Mario plays with – I suppose it’s one of those ‘you learn it the way you learn it’ things. I certainly can’t argue with the results – the guy makes pure magic from an acoustic guitar and he’s done it every single time I’ve listened to him, which has already been quite a lot throughout these past couple years here at SBS. There’s just something truly intangible and equally incredible about his no-frills approach and cheerful, nonchalant attitude when it comes to his humble enthusiasm; Mario’s different from other performers in the sense that you can tell he barely feels the pressure of playing live, if even at all. It leads him to continually beautiful experiences, like we’ve seen & heard here in both the “Barber Shop Concert” and the cover of “Willin’” – but check out some of the links throughout this article that will take you to past write-ups on Mario’s music and you’ll discover that this man has truly had the ability to captivate and wow us through his material from day one. He just strikes me as an insightfully fearless musician who lives in the moment and embraces whatever might come out from it…and of course, in his case, with his skillset, his charm, and his stunning instrumentation – he consistently creates highly memorable magic. I love the tone of his guitar on “Willin,’” I love the fact that he’s got the harmonica in there and how much personality it brings into his version of the Little Feat song , I love the fact that that melody, mood, atmosphere, and emotion have come to light in an all-new way here…have a listen to the original and you’ll discover the essence is certainly all over Mario’s version, but it’s undeniably his own style and approach that you’ll hear. And whether you’re one of the original members or just a random dude that listens to music all-day like I do – I like to think we’d all agree that in covering a song, you should always have something new to bring to it, some way to own it and care for it like it was your own. Mario does that in this tributary cut…I’ve talked with him enough behind the scenes to know just how highly he thinks of this song and the respect he has for the original version – he’s done his heroes justice here with an exceptional cover that reveals the heart of the melody & the dedication of a true artist at work.