The Sounds of Spaghetti

Spaghetti Western OrchestraA ghostly wind whistles in from the desert. A saloon door creaks open. Spurs jangle as a pair of cowboy boots treads up to the bar. A trembling hand jostles hard liquor into a clinking glass. There’s a sharp intake of breath, then a hush descends as everyone waits to hear what the stranger will say …

These are the sounds of spaghetti. The spaghetti western, to be precise. Last night, I spent a delirious couple of hours in the second row of Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall being delighted, amused and generally blown away by the antics and musicianship of the Spaghetti Western Orchestra.

To get an idea of how this amazing ensemble operates, imagine the scene I’ve described as an echoing soundscape recreated by five Australians wielding a baffling array of musical instruments and everyday objects ranging from trumpet and bassoon to rubber glove and cornflakes packet. Combine this with wit, split-second timing and constantly gurning expressions enhanced by music-hall make-up and you’re halfway there.

I say halfway because, as well as humour and absurdity, the SWO also creates beautiful music. Last night’s opening salvo included the iconic theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, performed with enough gusto to take my breath away. Then there was the haunting melody of Chi Mai arranged for beer bottle and quintet. And did I mention the extraordinary solo spots for tin-box guitar and theramin?

If you’re one of those folks with an iPod full of Morricone’s music, or who gets all shivery whenever you see Clint Eastwood chewing a cheroot, I recommend you put these guys on your most wanted list. But you’d better be quick on the draw – I reckon tickets will be heading out west real fast.

2 thoughts on “The Sounds of Spaghetti

  1. Great fun. Enjoyed your post and the 10-minute video on their website. It’s worth scrolling through the site just to get to list of instruments they play — coat hangers, nail clippers, packaging tape, and my personal favorite … asthma inhaler.

    Looks like they put on a very entertaining show. Wish they’d make a U.S. tour.

    1. I’d seen them on the BBC Proms last year (as had many people in the audience judging by the conversations I overhead). They’re even better live. Highly recommended if they should ever cross over to your side of the pond.

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