New York's Phantogram began their North American tour to support freshly released album Voices. The follow-up to 2009's Eyelid Movies dropped last week as Phantogram made the leap from Barksuk Records to Republic. Oakland's Fox Theater sold out while Phantogram brought Voices' new jams through the Bay Area.
One thing I noticed immediately was how well singer Sarah Barthel's vocals soared in Fox Theater. Occasionally, the building (originally a movie theater) can create some washy sound for bands. When Barthel let loose early on Voices tracks like "Black Out Days" and "Bad Dreams", even the "ohs" and "ays" filled the room. The ambient nature of Phantogram's fit well into the cavernous Fox.
Some of the early knocks on Voices have been disappointed with the lack of hooks, compared to "Don't Move" or "Mouthful of Diamonds", and suggest a more clinical vibe as Phantogram moved to larger studios and production budgets. They've certainly dived deeper into the ambient pool with Voices, but I think this is playing out well in the growth of their live set. As they are filling--and selling out--bigger venues, I think their sound will match these spaces. The addition of a live drummer also turns their "street beat" angle into a more danceable live enviro too.
Personally, I enjoyed the swelling songs, big choruses, and floating feelings. "Don't Move" definitely got the high mark for cheers, both at announcement and intro. This demonstrates the differences between the tight production style and headphones allure of earlier Phantogram versus Voices, as newer tracks like "Bill Murray" did drag a bit in comparison. But Phantogram seems to have found a next step to move forward with. Full tour dates below.
Phantogram Oakland Set List Intro Faces Cry Nothing But Trouble Running From the Cops As Far as I Can See Black Out Days Turning Into Stone Bad Dreams Don't Move The Day You Died Bill Murray I Don't Blame You Fall in Love Howling at the Moon When I'm Small -------- Mouthful of Diamonds Celebrating Nothing Futuristic Casket
Phantogram Tour Dates