House of Blues, Boston
October 21st 2016.
by Matthew Coleman
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It was a rainy day in New England, and unless you lived in Boston, if you had seen the color of the sky during sunset, you may have wanted to turn around. Onward I continued into the black abyss, as it only fit perfectly into context for my night. Phantogram were on tour in support of their new album ‘III,’ which only was released recently. The electronic rock duo, consists of Sarah Barthel (vocals/keys/bass) and Josh Carter (vocals/guitar/drums). They formedin 2oo7 in Greenwich, New York. They also just had a summer festival tour under the name Big Grams, a collaborative project with Big Boi from hip-hop duo, Outkast.
I arrived at Landsdown Street just before 8:00, just as the rain was picking up again. There was enough time to get right in the door once I got to there, check out the merch and lock in a spot as close to the front of the stage as I could comfortably get before The Range (Providence, Rhode Island) took to the stage. With his MacBook and midi devices, he mixed up a set of his atmospheric/abstract electro, hip hop, bass heavy (enough to rattle your new denim) dance tunes.
It’s 9:00 and all the balloons that came out of nowhere during soundcheck were wicked fun, keeping the audience on their toes until Phantogram took stage, with a live drummer and keys/synth player. They opened with their first track from ‘III,’ “Funeral Pyre,'” capuring the audiences attention with only their silohettes visible before going into explosive “Black Out Days” from their previous album ‘Voices’.
The mesh screen in front of the stage dropped, you could see the band- the crowd is going wild, stage lights were everywhere and Sarah’s dancing to the beat as it started. By the time they played drum heavy “You’re Mine”, it felt clear that everybody was enjoying themselves- everyone looking over to Josh, slaying the notes with such ease on his guitar. Sarah took a moment to say hello to Boston, and to let us know that the next song, “Same Old Blues”, another high energy hit, was writen for her mom, who was in the audience.
They then brought the energy down with a newer downtempo song, “Answer” before going back into a few high energy tracks from their first album ‘Eyelid Movies’, ending their set with “When IÕm Small” the second track from that album. They returned for encore, and as they built up the soft tone for “Barking Dog,” they mentioned how it was written for Sarah’s sister, who passed away last year. They then blended that into the deeper tones and vocal effects of “Cruel World.” The encore continued with the ever popular “Fall In Love” from ‘Voices’ and “You DonÕt Get Me High Anymore” the first single from ‘III.’
At about 10:30, the lights came on, the doors opened to expose the pouring rain and I knew where all the water came from during the show, that covered the floor and made the audience a little more comfortable with each other, somehow.
Setlist: 1. Funeral Pyre 2. Black Out Days 3. Don’t Move 4. Turning Into Stone 5. You’re Mine 6. Same Old Blues 7. Answer 8. Mouthful of Diamons 9. Howling at the Moon 10. Futuristic Caskets 11. Destroyer 12. When I’m Small Encore: 13. Barking Dog 14. Cruel World 15. Fall In Love 16. You Don’t Get Me High Anymore