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Dana Falconberry brings early bliss to FFF Fest

Peter Blackstock

Though a late start and long will-call lines created some snags in the early going for Fun Fun Fun Fest’s first day, inside the gates at the Orange Stage all was calm and cool as Dana Falconberry and her five-piece band played a mesmerizing 1 p.m. set on the Orange Stage.

Dressed in black with heart-shaped red plastic sunglasses, Falconberry ran through a 35-minute set of engagingly moody original tunes, along with a well-chosen cover of the Zombies’ “Time of the Season.” She got considerable help in setting a trancelike tone from her excellent backing crew, which included Karla Manzur on keyboards, Lindsey Verrill on cello, Gina Dvorak on banjo and guitar, Christopher Cox on bass and Matthew Shepard on drums.

Manzur and Dvorak’s backing vocals also enhanced several tunes, while Verrill’s creative cello playing at one point included striking the strings with a percussive mallet. Near the end of the ensemble’s last song, the music hit a quiet passage and the crowd was surprisingly hushed, letting the emotional moment sink in on a sunny afternoon that promised much subsequent cacophony. It was a beautiful little calm before the storm, and testament to Falconberry’s ability to draw an audience’s fixed attention purely on the strength of her music.