September 27, 2009 PHOENIX (concert review)
Hello lovely readers (hi mom!!!! [god I hope not.]),
So this past Wednesday evening I was blessed with the opportunity to see one of the most hyped up-and-coming indie/alternative bands of the year, Phoenix. You might know a song of theirs from that Cadillac commercial or maybe from the New York, I Love You trailer. You might even be the proud owners of their whole discography, in which case I probably don’t have to tell you that this band is seriously awesome.
Hailing from France (Versailles to be precise–the same area that has brought us Daft Punk, Air, and the guillotine), these guys sure know how to rock. Not only are their compositions unique and interesting (especially those on their newest effort, my pick for the album of summer ’09, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), there is also no question that these guys know how to put on one hell of a show.
The concert took place at the Aragon Ballroom in uptown Chicago, an extravagant Spanish-themed rock club that at the time seemed packed way beyond its 4500 person capacity. I got the feeling that this was one of the bigger shows this band has ever played from their incessant “thank yous” and the statement that, “it’s never like this back in Paris.” Anyway, it’s great to see so many people interested in what was once a small alternative rock band from France existing in the shadows of the country’s more popular musical exports such as Air, Justice and Daft Punk. In fact, Laurent Brancowitz, one of Phoenix’s guitarists used to play in an indie band called Darlin’ back in the day with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, who later became the world-renowned electronic duo Daft Punk.
Back to the point, Phoenix’s set was not only long (an hour and a half!–almost unheard of for young rock bands these days), but also varied and well balanced. They played just about every song off of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in addition to a slew of older hits and slightly less well-known gems. Although the new album is considerably more popular (and in my opinion better) than the older releases, some old singles such as “Run Run Run” from 2004’s Alphabetical got the crowd going. That said, no song got people moving more than the hit single, “1901.” The dynamic in the room during this final encore song created an almost religious experience. It was one of those moments where you felt like the crowd was moving as one and that nothing in the world could stop you from rocking out and having a good time. The electricity in the air could have powered a small factory. Phoenix could not have picked a better way to end the show as I’m sure that everyone left the concert just as I did, wishing and waiting to go see them again.
Here are a few selections of my favorite Phoenix tunes:
From Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Lasso
From Alphabetical, Run Run Run