Phantogram at First Avenue, 4/13/14
|Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen|
First Avenue, Minneapolis
April 13, 2014
Phantogram's textured synth-rock's power has grown steadily over the years. And they have never sounded -- and looked -- as massive as they did last night at a sold-out First Avenue. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter (along with Chris Carhart on drums and Nick Shelestak on guitar/synths/samples) delivered an enthralling 85-minute performance in support of their new record, Voices, augmented with a stylish light show.
The stage was shrouded in smoke and bright strobe lights as the band took the stage, easing their way into the choppy pulse of "Intro." The song flowed fluidly into Voices lead-off track, "Nothing But Trouble," and the crowd danced in time with the track's menacing rhythms. Carter took over lead vocals on an untamed Madchester version of "Running From the Cops." The rave-like vibe carried over into "As Far As I Can See," as sunbursts of strobe lights added to the enormous, disorienting beats.
|Photos By Anna Gulbrandsen|
"Minneapolis! How's everybody doing," Barthel asked exuberantly. "This is one of our favorite paces to play in the United States. Let's have some fucking fun!" Smash hit single, "Black Out Days," found her serving as a diabolic cheerleader while getting the crowd to swing their hands in the air. Carter again took over on "Turning Into Stone," as tranquil blue lights added to its raw sentiments.
"Bad Dreams" was sexy as hell. "You're making me sweat," Barthel teased coquettishly, before warming up the room even further with a dynamic run through of "Don't Move." Things slowed down a bit with the poignant combination of "The Day You Died," and "Bill Murray," with Barthel telling us that the latter song warrants the old arena-rock tradition of holding your lighters in the air and "Kurt Cobain forever!"