Posted in music | pictures on April 6, 2013

photos by PSquared Photography; words by Bill Pearis

Phoenix @ MHOW 4/5/2013
Phoenix

Phoenix have the most amazing drummer. His name is Thomas Hedlund, he's not even an official member of the band, but he's toured with them since at least the last album and he's absolutely essential to their being such an electrifying live band. Dude is a monster behind the kit, attacking it with a ferocity you just don't see in pop and his energy is Phoenix's dynamo.

That energy was needed, a bit, yesterday (4/5) for the band's surprise, free show at Music Hall of Williamsburg which was being taped by Sirius/XM to air on the satellite radio network next week. (The band are in town for an SNL appearance tonight.) The show started at 6 PM, which is not your normal Friday concert time (though I could certainly get used to having a show be over at 7:30) and folks maybe weren't given enough time to prime. But by the time of mid-set appearance of "Girlfriend," the crowd was ready to dance.

That said, Thomas Mars had no problem working the crowd. Dressed as usual in low-slung jeans and an untucked oxford, his preferred stage position was standing on top of his monitor, a move that never failed to elicit screams. He also jumped into the crowd for a couple songs, spent most of the new album's mostly-instrumental title track (which was smooshed with "Love Like Sunset") laying on the stage resting his head against that monitor, and finished the night atop the soundboard in the back of the room, thanking the crowd.

Current single "Entertainment" opened their MHOW set, which was rather heavy on the new album, still two weeks away from release. Bankrupt! is awash in glistening, '80s style synths and I'm not sure if it has anything as immediately winning as "Lisztomania" or "Consolation Prizes" but a number of songs wedged into my brain last night: "The Real Thing," with its "In the Air Tonight" backbeat; and the ELO-ish disco of "Trying to Be Cool" sound like singles to me. "SOS in Bel Air" is pretty catchy too. We got most of Bankrupt! -- minus record's two closing songs "Borgeois" and "Oblique City." The band seemed to be having fun playing the new material, at least from the side of the stage I was on. Guitarist Laurent Brancowitz was all smiles all night.

There were also established favorites too, banging out "Lasso," "Lisztomania," and "Long Distance Call" early in the set and finishing the night with "Armistice" and "1901" from Wolfgang Amedeus Phoenix and then an encore of "Countdown" and "Rome." I woulda liked to have gotten "Consolation Prizes" and "Everything is Everything," but those are quibbles. Really good show... and over before dark.

This was, of course, a very small place for them to play (though they did it last time around too) and their two other upcoming NYC shows are increasingly large: The Apollo on May (sold-out) and then Barclays Center on October 2 (tickets). And you can watch them tonight on SNL. Look out for the drummer.

More pictures, plus the setlist and a couple videos from Music Hall of Williamsburg, are below.

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Phoenix - "Don't" @ MHOW 4/5/2013

Phoenix - "The Real Thing" @ MHOW 4/5/2013

SETLIST: Phoenix @ MHOW 4/5/2013
Entertainment
Lasso
Lisztomania
Long Distance Call
Don't SOS In Bel Air
Sunskrupt!
The Real Thing
Girlfriend
Trying to be Cool
Drakkar Noir
Chloroform
Armistice
1901

Encore:
Countdown
Rome
Entertainment (reprise)

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Comments (73)

zzzZZZzzzZZZZZzzzzzz

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 1:26 PM

You know you are a crappy writer when there is a typo in the FIRST TWO WORDS of your review.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 1:29 PM

You know your addicted to hummus when you eat an entire tub of sabra within TWO MINUTES of waking up.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 1:32 PM

when did tix go onsale for this??? i'm on the amex preferred concert list wtf???????

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 1:44 PM

@1:44 Tickets didn't go on sale, they were free at the MHOW box office but you had to line up, probably by 8:30am yesterday I would guess, to go.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:01 PM

Does the fat kid with the drum stick live at MHOW? What does he eat? Not hummus obviously.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:21 PM

@1:29,

bv's style is that bands are treated as plural, if that's what you're talking about.

Posted by bill p | April 6, 2013 2:23 PM

Yeah, this writer is a fucking moron. Idiot fanboy over-enthusing hyperbole.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:25 PM

Free is still overpriced for this band. They should pay people to come see them.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:29 PM

I wince at the amount of money and time wasted trying to market and promote a band that is essentially wallpaper, at best.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:38 PM

This band makes great background music for car commercials.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:42 PM

They don't do funky squaredance anymore?!

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:43 PM

I think this whole entry was meant to be submitted to The Onion.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:44 PM

they played "love like a sunset" for ~10 minutes.

Sofia Coppola singing along in the balcony

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:46 PM

lol wtf does "Amex preferred concert list" mean, anyway?

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:52 PM

Fuck Sofia Coppola and her nepotism. She's made a few horifically shitty films and should be held to task for it not praised for being a rich kid with mucho connections. Her bf/husbands(?) band are less exciting than a constipated bowel movement of tender sirloin.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:53 PM

I had an extra wristband because my friend couldn't make it... so I just kept it

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 2:55 PM

Sad to have missed this show. Phoenix is one of my favorite bands- hoping to catch them when they come back to nyc. Loving “entertainment”- check out the video too.

Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2013 3:17 PM

They r headlining coachella so they must be new and gr8!!! I want to hear this red chili pepper band too!! NEw music!

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 3:28 PM

@253 really? she's a fantastic director. blame your parents, not hers.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 4:26 PM

This show was awesome. Anyone who's says otherwise wasn't there.

Probably the best live sound I've ever experienced at a show - ever.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 4:59 PM

sofia coppola has a butter face.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 5:11 PM

"some sort of double track effect"

oh, you mean a delay? the oldest fucking vocal effect ever?

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 5:22 PM

tolerance is so much cooler than being an asshole.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 5:48 PM

Band names should be singular. Oops!

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 6:30 PM

I would be interested in a free Spotify show of the iPods -- a band with real diversity from track to track!

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 6:30 PM

6:30 youre not as funny as you think you are

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 6:33 PM

I actually laughed at 6:30 . . .

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 9:20 PM

6:33 needs a better sense of humor. It was a silly joke but I have def heard worse!

; (

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 9:29 PM

The Strokes is playing tonight. Phoenix have a good drummer. Phil Collins were amazing!

Posted by Regular reader | April 6, 2013 10:50 PM

Why did 6:33 FREAK OUT.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 11:29 PM

I don't see any harm though. I don't usually laugh, but this time I did. At 6:30.

Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013 11:59 PM

I could only get through half of this review. Made me pine for the good old days of print when something this bush league would never be published.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 12:09 AM

i liked phoenix's old drummer better.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 1:03 AM

Doesn't Phoenix's drummer play along with a backing track of prerecorded drums?

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 1:08 AM

i look like a fucking ferengi

Posted by baptide | April 7, 2013 1:21 AM

Whats a dik4?

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 2:46 AM

Nothing but fifty-fifty clowns here today.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 7:06 AM

What is a "fifty-fifty clown"?

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:00 AM

4:59, have you been to many shows?

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:01 AM

Not a good bad. Headlining at major festivals baffles me.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:22 AM

Accurate review. Great show. Phoenix play as tight as anyone. They are in that upper echelon of modern music with Prince and Radiohead -- folks who make music transcendent. Listen to the last 2 LP's start-to-finish if this sounds nuts to you.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:30 AM

That's a very bold statement, 8:30. Seriously. I recommend that you listen to a lot more music by a variety of different types of artists before you make a statement like that.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 9:56 AM

Phoenix is a decent band. But to compare them to Prince or even Radiohead makes you sound musically ignorant, 8:30. I've listened to both albums, so I can make that statement.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 10:08 AM

Phoenix is very good, and yes festival headliner worthy. But they're definitely not on the same level as Prince or Radiohead.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 10:27 AM

Crappy pictures.

And I agree, decent band, but not headliner material. Not even a second stage.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 10:49 AM

10:08- the fact that you think Phoenix only has two albums means you know nothing about this band and are not qualified to comment on them

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 10:56 AM

10:56 lol im pretty sure he meant both albums that were mentioned.. their last two

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 11:13 AM

Could not agree more about how awesome and crucial Phoenix's drummer is to their sound.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 11:45 AM

Ugh, that stupid iPod comment actually made me laugh. ; (

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 1:01 PM

I just want Nick Cave to come back

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 4:11 PM

Prince, Radiohead, Phoenix are for fucking morons who don't know shit about music but think they have some knowledge because they went to college and subscribe to Rolling Stone.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 7:38 PM

^ whoa, thanks for reminding me. i need to renew my subscription to rolling stone & spin so i can know what's going in the music world 12-24 months after the fact.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:06 PM

Whoa whoa whoa, fuck you if you don't like Prince.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:19 PM

Their drummer is the best thing about the band.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 8:22 PM

drummer is sick live. closest band comparison music-wise would be the strokes

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 9:58 PM

Prince hasnt written a good song in over 25 years. Stop perpetuating the myth

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013 10:47 PM

Great. Now I'm just going to have to buy even more money to go to this.

Posted by More pictures, | April 8, 2013 4:27 AM

Phoenix is about 1 album away from their OK Computer moment. Catch them now before everyone makes you feel like a freak for not "having known them when"

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 7:30 AM

10:47, that may be true, but most musicians would give their left nut to have a body of work nearly as good as his was from 1978-1987. Also, he still is one of the best live acts around.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 8:50 AM

If you don't like Prince, you are dead inside. Big hole in your soul. I feel bad for you.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 8:56 AM

Fact: Prince is not from France.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 8:59 AM

Do you know what France is good at? Cheese.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 9:00 AM

France is good at both whine and cheese

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 9:17 AM

10:47, not true. Pussy Control was a great tune, and that came out in '95.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 9:51 AM

"Phoenix is about 1 album away from their OK Computer moment. Catch them now before everyone makes you feel like a freak for not "having known them when"."

That...is not true. Their last record (the one in 09) will be their commercial/critical peak.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 10:23 AM

^ this guy can see the future.

dumbass

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 10:27 AM

The best thing about this post is the pic of the guy with the "Rocko's Modern Life" shirt.

Posted by Nixon Raygun | April 8, 2013 10:58 AM

I'd give my left nut to bang Karen O. that's about it.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 5:58 PM

Nah, Karen O is too lanky and skanky lookin for me.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013 8:46 PM

I can't wait to see these guys at Coachella, check out their video for their song Entertainment!

http://smarturl.it/PhoenixEnt

Posted by Christian | April 11, 2013 1:52 AM

Wish I had known about this!

Posted by N | April 22, 2013 2:30 AM

best song ever :D coooooool!!! Love!!!!!

Posted by Dawni | September 24, 2014 2:13 PM

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