Phantogram at the Joy
When the time arrived, Phantogram (Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter) loped into position on a black stage. They were partially obscured by a translucent mesh screen that covered the front of the stage. The duo went immediately into “Funeral Pyre,” the opening cut of their third record, which appropriately enough begins with the word “light” left hanging out in space. At that moment projectors sprung to life, illuminating the screen and bathing the performers in their radiant glow. Over the years, Phantogram has refined the spectacle of their show into a full event. Both Barthel and Carter are not just comfortable on stage but also moving with each other through the plane of the stage. The combination of their ease and the stage effects creates a space where each song can live between the performers and audience. The fifth song of the night was “You’re Mine” and as the driving beat began the screen fell, removing the last bit of separation between them and the crowd. The duet about possession extended to the audience, each fan rapt with attention. It is this careful thought that makes Phantogram’s performances so memorable. They have considered the order and impact of the tracks in their setlists and use them to build a narrative for the audience. Appropriately for the encore the screen went back up in time for them to close with “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”. This track is about the nature of need and addiction both in our world and in our relationships. It was a perfect moment to end on especially as the crowd could have spent another hour in the company of this fantastic live experience. For me Phantogram works better on stage than they do in the studio. Their live show tie their often disparate songs together in a complex web of performance. Make sure to catch them at the next opportunity.
Tegan and Sara
This Saturday the outstanding Tegan and Sara will be at the Joy Theater with Torres as the opening act. I have been raving about the excellence of the duo’s recent record Love You To Death. This show will be a great opportunity to see them exercise these tracks live.
Locals About Town
Tonight Gal Holiday is at Three Muses. Check out Dumpstaphunk with Mia Borders on Friday at Tips Uptown. Also Friday, Camile Baudoin and Josh Paxton will be at Buffa’s with a Radiators tribute show to follow. Friday at d.b.a. Royal Fingerbowl will play. Flow Tribe will be at the Rock ’N Bowl on Saturday also that night Big Freedia will be at Siberia. Quintron and Miss Pussycat will be at One Eyed Jacks on Saturday as well. Meschiya Lake will do an early show at Siberia on Sunday. Monday Alex McMurray is at Chickie Wah Wah. Tuesday you can see the Treme Brass Band at d.b.a. Wednesday check out The Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor.
To Do This Week
Tonight Trash Talk is at Gasa Gasa. Saturday is a fully loaded night. Tegan and Sara will be at the Joy. Dweezil Zappa will be at Tips and Tauk will be at the Howlin’ Wolf. Sunday Yeasayer will be at Republic. Monday check out Animal Collective at The Civic or Warpaint at One Eyed Jacks.
To Listen This Week
- I’ve been on an early Cure kick this week and I thought I’d share. Check out these great cuts via Youtube here and here
- Regina Spektor and Chris Cornell cover the Beatles for Beat Bugs via CoS
- Listen to selection from Dylan’s comprehensive new 1966 recordings set via NPR