Thursday, 27 August 2009

Phoenix: Live at the Enmore 2009

“So, how do you think the show will turn out tonight, Mr. Mars?”

“Well, I’m going get changed, eat a croissant, go out on the stage and rock the fucking shit out of the place.”

“Wow, that’s some plan.”

Extract from my made up interview with Thomas Mars, lead singer of Phoenix.

Actually, Thomas Mars probably wouldn’t be that crass. The vocalist for French indie-pop band Phoenix seems like too nice a guy to say anything that rude. His partner Sophia Coppola would probably wouldn’t be too impressed by that sort of language. And you don’t want to get Sophia angry, she might make a movie out of your private life.

It has been some time coming, but due to unforeseeable time constraints, my thoughts on Phoenix’s Enmore gig have been delayed nearly three and a bit weeks. Well, the wait is over. Aren’t you excited?

Sarcasm aside, Phoenix are riding a wave of well deserved praise following the release of their fourth studio album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”, which followed the superb third album “It’s Never Been Like That”. If you’ve heard the latest record, you may agree with me when I say that is one of the most fun albums to be released this year. Their live show had a lot to live up too.

Fortunately, Phoenix delivered in spades, playing a show that I’m told was one of the most complete performances ever to grace the Enmore Theatre in Sydney. This being my first visit to the venue, I cannot say whether it was or not, but I can say that it was FREAKING AWESOME.

I arrived at 9pm, slightly boozed I must say, being that my pal Derek and I had consumed a few pitchers of lager prior to the trip out to Newtown. Luckily, we’ve inadvertently timed our attack run to perfection, arriving just in time to see the band hit the stage.

Phoenix open with Listzomania, inspiring the crowd into the sort of mania that the song derives its name from. From there, it’s a feast of danceable hits. Songs from their last two albums dominate the show, though 'Funky Square Dance' from ‘United’ debuts early in the set. Thomas Mars occasionally addresses the crowd between songs in a cordial and generally 'I'm glad to be here' manner, but chatter is kept to relative minimum. The music does all the talking, and it is clear that the band revel in their art. One cannot but notice the controlled ferocity of their drummer, as he beats the skins like man possessed by Romanian gypsy demons. After a rousing version of 'Too Young', 'Girlfriend' and the six-minute almost instrumental 'Love Like Sunset', Phoenix close their set with 'Rome' to rapturous applause.

As can be expected, the crowd demand more, and Thomas Mars returns to the stage to perform a slower tempo version of 'Everything is Everything', before the rest of the band join him on stage to blast out 'If I Ever Feel Better', from which I suspect that many people die of pure joy. The night is brought to a close with the lead single from the latest album, '1901', and many happy punters vacate the Enmore. I certainly was quite satisfied.

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