6.22.209 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY - Amazing Baby (pass!) and PHOENIX (Yes please!)
The French band Phoenix has really been causing headlines since debuting their newest album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. However, this has been a tour de force band for years, trust me (this is their fourth album + one live album). For those of you that really like the movie Lost in Translation, you have already been exposed to a Phoenix song - Too Young is on the movie's soundtrack. That is because lead singer Tommy Mars has been dating the director of the movie Sofia Coppola for several years; they have a daughter together and live in Paris. As if Sofia's life could get any worse, seriously, I feel bad for that Coppola.
I am settling for the ability to have seen an incredible show put on by Tommy and crew this past Friday. I ignored the four avenue walk to Terminal 5 which might as well be in the Hudson River; I bypassed the sold out crowd waiting in long lines for drinks and I battled the Francophones to get as close to the stage as I could; I had to concentrate hard but I blocked out an introduction to the evening by still bald DJ Matt Pinfield from WRXP 101.9 AND the mediocre opener, Brooklyn band Amazing Baby. I will admit that the guitarist for Amazing Baby was pretty damn good and entertaining, partly because he was a true hard rock hair band guy that didn't seem to know he was in an indie band where the lead singer and the drummer wore headbands.
All the typical New York annoyances slipped away when Phoenix came on right at 9:45pm and pounded out three great songs in a row - Lisztomania, Long Distance Call (love this song), and Consolation Prizes. That got the crowd near Jonas Brothers decibel level and they stayed enthusiastic for Phoenix even through a few weird instrumental songs in the middle of the set, even Tommy Mars left the stage for a song. However, in their defense it was pretty cool electronic pop and it is what Europe loves them for, they are often compared to Jamiroquai, but the U.S. only knows their lyric-friendly songs so it was a classic case of jumping on the band wagon. By the time Phoenix came back on the stage for the encore you could tell they were fucking loving controlling that big of a crowd in the U.S., so much so that they shed their too cool French air (think Robin Williams' impersonation "Here the baby is smoking. Does that piss you off"?!) and smiled and thanked the crowd and just let us scream for a bit.
If you are new to the band here are a few little nuggets:
- They are from Versailles, the same place as Air and Daft Punk. In fact, they got their start as the backing band for a few Air songs.
- Their first two singles came out in 2000 and are still two of my favorite songs of theirs - If I Ever Feel Better and Too Young.
- They were the soundtrack for a Dior Homme fashion show
- They have lyrics that are easy enough to pick up after a few listens, catchy and fun to sing. The lyrics are also smart enough to not be disappointed when you learn the lyrics enough to translate what the songs are actually about. For example, I absolutely love the Kings of Leon and my cousin and I both love their song Soft, but go learn the lyrics and then you can tell me what it is about and see if you keep singing the lyrics out loud.
So go see Phoenix. They are coming to almost every town near you (except for you Seattle, take it up with the band). New Yorkers they are coming back around in September to play Central Park with the too hot too handle for their first album, Passion Pit.
It was a great concert and a great night, even if it ended with me standing under a sign that said Western Beef. Don't ask, New York is weird man.
The first 90 seconds if Phoenix's setlist - the song is Lisztomania
Lisztomania Long Distance Call Consolation Prizes Lasso Napolean Says Funky Square Dance Rally Girlfriend Armistice Love Like a Sunset Run Run Run Too Young Sometimes in the Fall Rome
ENCORE: If I Ever Feel Better 1901