Phantogram pull in college crowd at the Entry

Categories: Concert Review
phantogram.jpg
Photo by Doron Gild
Big props to Radio K for promoting the hell out of Phantogram for the past few weeks. When the ambient pop duo came through town to play the Entry last night, it was obvious that the support from the U of M station was the main reason that the club was sold out -- almost all of the audience was college-aged, and cheered loudly anytime Phantogram launched into one of the songs that has been in heavy rotation on Radio K.

A large portion of the crowd was quite chatty even after Phantogram started playing, and at quieter moments the bar clatter almost drowned out the duo's smooth electro jams. But at its louder moments, the music got the first few rows of the crowd dancing around clumsily, with limbs flying and hips rocking back and forth to Phantogram's chilled-out dance beats.

The band doesn't play dance music, necessarily, as their electro beats are swathed in an array of ambient synth lines, looping vocal melodies, and fuzzy guitars -- overall, Phantogram's music has a trance-like quality akin to M83 or a less harmony-driven School of Seven Bells. But between verses, singer Sarah Barthel would wobble back and forth and shake her head spastically, causing the crowd to follow suit with bursts of goofy little monkey dances. Add to that mental image the fact that most of the crowd was made up of pale young Scandinavian kids wearing knit ski caps, and it made for a hilariously awkward sight that contrasted sharply with Phantogram's cool pop.

Here's a video of Phantogram playing one of their radio singles, "When I'm Small." As you can tell by the video, part of the crowd was talking loudly despite this being one of their most recognizable tunes.

Phantogram - When I'm Small from Ben Clark on Vimeo.


Long story short, the music was great, the crowd was strange, and I'm going to try to get my hands on a Phantogram CD to enjoy through my headphones. I think these guys would do really well at a venue like the Varsity -- here's hoping Radio K continues to rally behind them and can get them back into town sometime soon.



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