Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Phoenix @ The Pageant (8/9/2010)

2009 was a huge year for Phoenix.  Even though they've been around for over 10 years, it wasn't until the release of last year's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix that they finally broke through (Stateside, at least).  And now they're kind of like a big deal.  And everybody loves them.  Except for Jim Kolpack.

Toro y Moi was the opener for the show.  They hurried through their set, finishing in under 25 minutes of their allotted 30.  I did finally find out how to pronounce the name of the band - the "Moi" is pronounced as it is in French.  No, they're not from France (like Phoenix is) - Chazwick is from South Carolina.

I fully expected Phoenix's setlist to be loaded with songs from Wolfgang, since it would be likely that many in the audience had not heard much, if any, of their previous stuff (including myself - I had only listened to each of their previous albums once or twice).  And that is exactly what happened.  In fact, it utterly dominated their setlist, and they played every song from it.  Which is a good thing, since their other albums (in my opinion) are not as good.  Of the other songs, I did recognize one - "Everything is Everything" - though not until the chorus because they were playing a "reduced" version (vocal and guitar only) of it.

The sound quality started out a little imprecise (it didn't seem crisp, and the instruments overpowered the vocals), but improved as the show progressed.  The surprise highlight of the show was "Countdown", but that may be because it was the first one that they seemed to nail sonically.  As expected, they closed with "1901".  Thomas' foray out into the crowd during the reprise, however, was not expected.

Other observations:
  • Oddly, one of the guitar players regularly switched guitars during the beginning of songs (i.e., after the song had already begun), instead of doing so in between songs.
  • Thomas thanked the crowd a lot.  It almost seemed like he was in disbelief that Phoenix had made a big enough breakthrough in the U.S. to sell out a show in a medium-sized city in the middle of the country.
  • I would not recommend this concert for epileptics - they had several kinds of seizure-inducing strobe lights.  I don't know how they can even play their instruments with all that going on.
Here are some cell phone videos that I took: