Photos By Nick Balleza, Words By Josh Phelps
Phantogram returned to DC last Thursday for their first headlining 9:30 Club gig. Extremely sold out with secondary market tickets nearly double face value, the kids are most definitely picking up whatever semblance of thumping electro james that Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel are putting down. The energy between the stage and the crowd was palpable throughout the night as the band, armed to the teeth with extra players that fleshed out the true album sounds, pushed the club’s stellar sound system to it’s chest vibrating limits. The full band also meant Barthel is now free to escape from behind her Moog setup and prowl the stage on a few songs, showcasing an exploding confidence bred over 4 years of straight touring. They covered all the bases of their recorded history, giving Carter the reigns on early single “Running From The Cops” near the start and returning back to Eyelid Movies’ banger of choice “Mouthful of Diamonds” during the encore. “Fall in Love,” the first official release off of 2014’s Voices, was an absolute monster (see the video, released last night, here). I mentioned in an earlier interview and preview of the show that they are dealing in some dark material. This still rings true. But when the sun-bright light show washes over Barthel’s sweet smile and Carter’s exuberant guitar flailings, the crowd whips itself into a frenzy of ecstasy and no one’s thinking about broken hearts.