Phantogram @ High Noon, Madison

Phantogram is an American indie band with members Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel. According to wikipedia, they formed in 2007, but I don't think anyone really heard of them until 2009. And 2010 is really when they got their "big break", so to speak.

Eyelid Movies Tour

I was introduced to them last year, right as they started their first national tour for the release of their upcoming debut album, Eyelid Movies. I saw them on the upcoming board for High Noon Saloon, and my brother, Bill, had mentioned that they were pretty good, and that I'd probably like them. I listened to some of their songs, and definitely liked them indeed.

On my birthday last year was when they came into Madison, and my local record store, Strictly Discs, had them put on an intimate in-store performance limited to 50 people. I got down there the moment they opened up, and made sure to secure my place in line. Well, it turned out that not a lot of people had heard of this. Or they weren't interested. I came back around 3pm when they were actually performing, and was 1 out about 30 people who listened to their short 30 minute set.

It was pretty fantastic. They have a very melodic tone that builds a very ambient atmosphere, followed with a drum beat that guides the melodic and chorus of songs. It's relaxing, but still energetic. It paints a picture in my mind, every time I hear their songs.

I recorded the whole performance, last year:

After they finished, everyone met upstairs for a quick meet-and-greet. They brought along Vinyl copies of their yet unreleased album. So I bought one of those, and got it signed by Josh and Sarah. Unfortunately, I missed their performance at The High Noon later on due to birthday drinking.

Birthday Drinking wasn't a problem this year, because they came into town one day after.  And the concert was on a Monday night, so I wasn't about to get shit-faced on a work night.

Nightlife Tour

It had been a while since I heard anything about Phantogram. I saw them on High Noon's upcoming list, and had wondered if they were going to perform anything new since last year. All of the concerts I had heard leading up to last year, were the same 11 tracks from their album.

Once again, my brother Bill sent me a link for an upcoming mini-album titled Nightlife. It had 6 songs, but it still gave me the same feelings I had when I first heard them. Some songs were rather similar to their earlier stuff. But others actually iterated on their style, went in a few different directions, but kept their sound in tact. I really like Turning into Stone, which seems to channel Moby but keeps it in their own voice.

Last night, they performed at The High Noon Saloon to a sold out crowd. Sold out! on a Monday night, even. Phantogram's popularity is exploding right now. Many critics have very high praise for Nightlife, and even publications such as Wired are even commenting on them. It's kind of crazy. I doubt it would be possible to do an intimate in-store performance with them as the place would be overrun.

Along with greater popularity and a greater crowd, their stage performance has expanded. They hired a drummer, rather than using a drum looping kit, or whatever. Using a live drummer really makes their sound POP even more than before. They are much better live now. Before it just sounded the same.

They brought along a bunch of lazers and lights too.

The crowd at the High Noon was interesting. There were plenty of girls, hipsters, and kids totally into the indie scene. They probably follow pitchfork, who have been talking this band up. Right in the front were a bunch of bros whom I wouldn't think would attend such a show. In fact, they were the most into Phantogram out of the whole audience. They were probably drunk, but their hands were in the air the whole time, and they were rockin' out. They bought me beer, too. :)

I recorded some video, but I mostly took a bunch of pictures. I think I took enough notes to identify their set list, too.

1. ??? (maybe Let me Go) (video)
2. Don't Move -- Nightlife
3. ??? (maybe A Dark Tunnel)
4. Running from the Cops -- Eyelid Movies
5. Mouthful of Diamonds -- Eyelid Movies
6. As Far As I Can See -- Eyelid Movies
7. Turning into Stone -- Nightlife
8. 10,000 Claps -- Eyelid Movies
9. Make a Fist - Nightlife
10. Turn it off -- Eyelid Movies
11. 16 Years -- Nightlife
12. When I'm Small -- Eyelid Movies (video)

1. Nightlife -- Nightlife
2. All Dried Up -- Eyelid Movies

Anywho, it was a good time. :)

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