Review: Phoenix Live!

January 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

“In Paris, we clap like this,” he said and demonstrated by clapping very much like people do everywhere, however, maybe he simply meant in Paris they clap but they also just look more stylish doing so. “In Vancouver, we storm the stage and dance like this,” I said, as about 200 people from the sold-out crowd ran onstage during Phoenix’s encore of “If I Ever Feel Better” which turned into an extended version. In fact, from the nosebleed seat I had, I lost view of the singer and guitarist completely as the crowd joyously swallowed them. The band continued their encore in this riotous stage appropriation, finishing with “1901”. I have never seen this happen before, and certainly not at a venue such as the Orpheum–a theatre.

A photo someone took when they were on the stage with the crowd of 200 or so. Insanity.

As for their performances, it was quite good, they played with gusto. The drummer, in particular had a degree of finesse rarely seen. The singer seemed cheerful and spot-on, although, his singing is hardly strenuous or vigorous anyway. The guitar volume was absurdly low and the bass was too loud, which made normally very familiar songs a bit confusing at first for me to recognize.

Before the band was surrounded by passionate fans during the last two songs of the encore, they came out and did a rendition of Air’s “Playground Love” which was very charming indeed. I have since concluded that the difference between the band’s early work and more recent work is quite stark. It sounds as though they’ve been listening to Snow Patrol and every other uplifting and epic anthemic music around, and when compared to United and Alphabetical, one can hear the move away from quirky understatement towards extroverted sing-alongs. Still, similar disco infused drum patterns and driving basslines infiltrate both the early and new work, I do prefer the earlier albums, but that’s a matter of taste. They put on a good show. Too bad I was beside a girl in the dumbest looking fedora I’ve ever seen, who danced like a monkey climbing a tree and couldn’t clap in time. Perhaps in Paris, clapping “like this” means on the beat.

Stay Gold

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