Phantogram has done a great job of impressing me over the past few months. Coming off the hype generating album, Eyelid Movies, my expectations of their live performance were quite high. And not only was their album fantastic and talked about on every music blog, but their New York City show had been sold out for the past few weeks now. Not bad for a duo out of tiny Saratoga Springs, New York.
But even with the bar set so high, there was plenty of room for disappointment. Phantogram certainly had their moments, but the performance as a whole seemed to fall short. While they did catch the crowd’s attention with fan-favorites like “Mouthful of Diamonds”, “When I’m Small” and “As Far As I Can See”, most of the show ended up being rather dragged out and uneventful. Phantogram’s music does push the envelope, don’t get me wrong, but their live show ended up feeling more like that of an opening act. I expected artists of that caliber to come out with wild light arrangements, a full band and more. Instead, all we got was an annoying strobe light and a makeshift projector that flashed irrelevant movie clips while they performed.
Moving on to the openers, Railbird and Light Pollution, we can see that things really didn’t come together at all that night. Railbird did play a few songs I felt were worthy of a head nod, but I couldn’t help but feel like their performance was missing a few key elements. On the other hand we had Light Pollution. I am sorry, but this was just a poor performance all around. The singer couldn’t carry a note, the drummer played too loud, and overall they simply lacked stage presence. I think it was safe to say that the crowd agreed, failing to cheer at the end of any of their songs. In conclusion, save yourselves a weekend evening and settle for just supporting these bands by purchasing their records instead.