Musician Marc Capelle was playing piano at a San Francisco club one night in 2017 when, inspired and excited by the relaunch of David Lynch’s cult classic “Twin Peaks,” he decided to play some music from the show.
After he finished, management asked if he would come back the next week with a guitarist and play more Lynch-ian tunes, Capelle told amNewYork. A month or so later, the 56-year-old had a full ensemble booked for the main room, and Red Room Orchestra was born.
This week the band plays two nights at Symphony Space, their first shows outside the Bay Area, with music from “Twin Peaks” on Friday and music from the films of Wes Anderson on Saturday.
Red Room Orchestra can have close to 30 people onstage at times, Capelle said, counting musicians and special guests.
“Nominally I’m the band leader,” he said, “but it’s a very cooperative — or almost co-op-like — organization in the sense of the labor and attention we all put in.”
These are the “creme de la creme” of session musicians, with decades of experience, as well as their own bodies of work. Some, such as Karina Denike, are fixtures on the San Francisco scene; others, such as Yuka Honda (co-founder of the ‘90s trip-hop band Cibo Matto), have enjoyed more widespread acclaim.
By their nature, the Lynch and Anderson shows have slightly different vibes, Capelle said, the former being more atmospheric and the latter being more like a jam session, with a string quartet sitting in and everything from “Ravel to the Kinks” on tap.
Both nights also feature recreations of vignettes from their source material, including scenes from “Invitation to Love” (the soap opera airing on all the TV’s in “Twin Peaks”), “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
The group’s biggest break to date came at San Francisco Sketchfest in January 2018, as organizers got several “Twin Peaks” cast members to perform onstage with the band, an experience that Capelle called “super, super crazy.” The San Francisco native lives just 20 minutes below the peaks that gave Lynch’s show its name and has been a fan from the start.
“It was a big part of our weekend nights to watch that show in real time [in the ’90s], back when you did that stuff,” he said.
The relationship continues, with Queens-native and “Twin Peaks” star James Marshall confirmed for the Symphony Space gig. Other guests include comedian Margaret Cho (both nights), and musician and comedian Dave Hill (Anderson night).
“It kind of goes back to the notion of these larger troupes from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s,” Capelle said, “be they punk or funk or soul, where you’re just really fortunate to have these people at the table going after something.”
If you go: Red Room Orchestra plays the music of "Twin Peaks" on Friday at 8 p.m. and music from Wes Anderson films on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, symphonyspace.org, $25-$40