Phoenix is a band from Versailles, France who released their first album in 2000, four years after their current lineup was finally in place (guitarist, Laurent Brancowitz joined after formerly being part of band called Darlin‘ with the members of Daft Punk). Last night, I saw them live at the Brixton Academy in London. The venue was completely sold out, which even seemed to shock the band. I have to say, this venue was terrible. Not only did the rows of seats limit your interactions with fellow audience members, but it was so big that I felt completely removed from the band (up in the balcony).
I’ll admit that I’m spoiled when it comes to shows and rarely ever go to large venues, but my displeasure was not purely due to the size. What irritated me the most was the audience, who seemed to be lethargic, and difficult to motivate throughout the show. It was so frustrating for me to see a band putting their heart into a show, while people sat down in the rows in front of me. If you want to sit down while listening to live music, go to an opera!
That being said, Phoenix put on a great show. The lighting was great, taking a page from the design of the album art of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (their latest album). The lead singer, Thomas Mars, had an onstage presence that anyone could admire. He often jumped into the audience and interacted with the fans while constantly maintaining strong vocals. I really need to see them again live, but next time I’ll make sure it’s at a better venue.
Here are some tracks to get you hooked on Phoenix, if you aren’t already. Love Like a Sunset is an epic journey of a song that builds steam as it progresses, and finally explodes with vocals that send chills down your spine. “Rome” is one of my favorite songs from the new album, and a great example of what you get from this exciting band. Finally, the video below is a song they played during their encore. It’s an old one, and so good. It was even better when they played it live as an acoustic.