Photo credit Matthew Curtis
Sunday night at First Avenue saw a sold-out crowd for the electro-pop duo Phantogram. With this being their fourth show at the Mainroom, they brought a sort of musical storytelling that made it clear why we keep wanting to bring them back, even if they didn’t bring Big Boi along.
The show opened with DJ The Range. The choice to open such a highly anticipated show with a DJ proved to be one that not many understood or really appreciated, but at the same time, the performance wasn’t a notably bad experience. The Range was excited to be there, and definitely brought a cool sound, but it made better background music to a chatting audience than the opening performance that many were expecting.
Phantogram showed up pretty shortly after The Range finished his set, and not surprisingly, they came out with a bang. The first part of their set was done behind a big sheet with an incredible light show projected on, through, and behind it. The sheet was up for the first four songs, but the beauty of the show didn’t stop when it was gone. Towards the end of the show, Sarah left the stage while Josh finished the song on his own, but when she returned in a long cape, outfitted with a smoke machine for the next song, her short absence was more than justified.
Their version of an encore was just as unique as their sound itself, with a brief exit from the stage as the sheet was again raised, but this time projected with the most intriguing combination of old home videos overlaid with abstract white projections of the two performing. It wasn’t clear that this was the encore until they ended with “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” which everyone fully expected would be the last of the night. Through any sense of confusion, it was clear that they started just as strong as they finished. Their sound was as crisp and energetic as their album, and they mixed just the right amount of old songs with really, really new (their latest album released earlier this month). Even for those unfamiliar or maybe even unimpressed with their albums, the theatricality mixed with their live sound was enough to excite everyone in the room.