Phantogram at First Avenue, 10/10/13
|Photo by Erik Hess|
with Future Islands
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Phantogram has the power to rattle your skull and your soul, and not many bands are capable of both of those things. The New York group's brand of electro-rock sounds polished and tarnished at the same time. Thursday's show at First Avenue began a little unevenly, but by the end it had all but been forgotten. While the founding duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter's new material isn't groundbreaking or a giant leap forward, it is a testament to fact that they are not just a flash in the pan, which is more than most bands could hope for, really.
The band took a bit to get going as the first three songs sort of seemed like warm up pitches, with "Running From the Cops" being the most put-together of the bunch. They offered up "Mouthful of Diamonds" -- arguably their catchiest and definitely their most recognizable song -- following that and then they were off, an unstoppable hurricane for the rest of the set, lights flashing, synths clanging and buzzing.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
"Black Out Days," the single from the new Phantogram EP was next and if anyone wasn't convinced by the end of "Mouthful," they surely had to have been as the band wrapped up "Black Out Days." Next came "Turning Into Stone" from 2011's Nightlife EP and the momentum just kept building. The band, now expanded to a four-piece live, opening the throttle ever wider with "As Far As I Can See." The set reached it's peak with "When I'm Small" from 2009's Eyelid Movies and the set began its beautiful, cacophonous denouement from there.
Barthel finally acknowledged the crowd at some point during all of this with a shy, sweet "Thank you, Minneapolis. We just love it here," and then the electronic voiceover signaling the beginning of "Turn It Off" began and we were back to what we had come for: decidedly humanized electro-rock. Overall, the set cemented that Phantogram is a more talented and less annoying than Sleigh Bells and much more human version of Ladytron. All of which is to say they are about a million times more entertaining than both of those bands combined.