Review & Photos | Phoenix | Boston

Images and Words by: Andrew Bruss

Phoenix :: 10.1.13 :: House of Blues :: Boston, MA

Check out Andrew's full review after his images...

Pop music gets a bad rap if you only tune in for the VMA’s, but if you attended Phoenix’s performance at Boston’s House of Blues earlier this week, you’d know their catchy, neo-disco electro-pop is the best kind of infectious. While brief chunks of their setlist strayed into somewhat experimental territory, the bulk of their 90 minute performance consisted of crisp guitar licks, vibrant bass lines, snappy drum fills and melodic vocals that anyone could groove to.

The quintet of Frenchmen bookended their set with “Entertainment,” the single off their latest release, 2013’s Bankrupt! While the opener was the studio version of the tune, the set closer was a revamped reprise that you won’t find on any of their studio products.

While Phoenix uses a traditional setup of two telecaster-loving guitarists, a set of transparent drums, precision bass and mid-range vocals, they thicken the plot with MIDI keyboards used by both the bassist and one of the guitarists. In addition, the group rounds out as a sextet on the road with the addition of a multi-instrumentalist stage right of the drummer who rocked a high hat alongside his wall of synths and keyboards.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix tunes like “Lisztomania” and “1901” gave everybody something to sing along to, but the highlight of the night was their full rendition of “Love Like a Sunset (Parts I & II).” For a group that’s established itself with catchy choruses, this predominantly instrumental segment showcased the band at its most experimental. It mostly stuck to the studio arrangements but between Parts I and II, they strayed into some deep space that was far from “Dark Star” or “Ghost,” but showed the audience that this is a band which can go off script.

The majority of the set showcased frontman Thomas Mars romping around the stage, microphone in hand, while his bandmates kept position, but during the encore, things got interesting. For “Rome,” Mars pulled an Eddie Vedder and climbed up into the balcony to show the fans in the back some love. After coming back down to earth, he invited his audience to join the group onstage for their reprise of “Entertainment.”

For a group that’s hosted guests ranging from Daft Punk to R. Kelly, they didn’t do anything all that unusual when they came to Lansdowne Street. That said, the slightly undersold audience was louder in support of Phoenix than any overcapacity EDM show hosted in the same room. Everyone left the venue with a smile on their face and something to brag about at work (or school) the following morning. The next time you hear someone complain about the state of pop music, tell them to make their way to a Phoenix concert.

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[Published on: 10/4/13]

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