ACL ‘09 Performance Review: Phoenix
Phoenix emerged on stage amidst the cheers of an ever growing and enthusiastic crowd. Thomas Mars (vocals), Deck D’Arcy (bass), Laurent Brancowitz (guitar), and Christian Mazzalai (guitar) lined up at the front of the stage with two drummers behind. The intro music was cut short and they launched into a rocking set full of danceable disco grooves and gritty indie vocals layered on top. The band has really hit it’s stride with their most recent release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and their playing is tighter than ever. Playing an hour long set at a festival seems like an intimidating amount of time to find your groove, but proved to be more than manageable for this group. About halfway through the set they had the crowd’s apt attention when they hit a technical difficulty. They kept the energy high by playing a slower vocal/guitar number called Playground Love while the problems were worked out. The song was good, but their strength certainly lies in the more high energy numbers they have become famous for. Towards the end of the set they shifted seamlessly from dance songs into a solid hard rocker with heavy bass and driving licks that had the entire crowd doing an almost involuntary and subtle headbanging. They finished the set as strong as they started and were certainly the highlight of today’s ACL Fest lineup.