When Phantogram’s fall tour came around to Los Angeles at the Hollywood Palladium on Tuesday, it was supposed to be with a new album already out for a couple of weeks.
Instead, their third record aptly titled Three, comes out Friday, via Republic Records. The packed house at the large roller-rink style Palladium didn’t seem to mind they played so much new material, taking quite well to it.
A public service announcement to those that attend concerts. If you get there right as the headliner is going on, or later, don’t push your way to the front. If you wanted to be up there, you wouldn’t have spent as much time getting sloshed pre-gaming. Those of us that got our good vantage points got there early. Stop being an entitled brat. A group of girls tried shoving their way to the front Tuesday and a group of us in the area shot them down in a rare form of audience unity. It was glorious. It’s one thing if there’s ROOM ahead, but when everyone is packed in sardines it’s time to give it up.
When Phantogram took the stage, they did so with a thin transparent screen in front of them. When they kicked into opening song “Funeral Pyre,” lead vocalist Sarah Barthel was projected on the front of the screen. The production was impressive. They performed this way through the first half of the set before the screen fell to the wayside.
I enjoyed the half-dozen times I saw Phantogram’s collaboration with Big Boi as Big Grams this summer. But they are at their best when performing their brand of haunting electro-pop. While Big Grams was much more of a party, Phantogram’s music has more depth to it. The songwriting is also of a higher level.
Half of the set was dedicated to tracks from the new album. Though we’ve only been exposed to three or four of them, fans met the new material they didn’t know with excitement. Josh Carter’s vocals shined on the duet slower jam “Answer” midway through the set.
Of course, the crowd was most receptive to the bangers Phantogram have made their name on – from “Black Out Days” to “Mouthful of Diamonds” and beyond. It’s been great to see how “Black Out Days” has grown in their live show to the point Barthel stretches her vocals on the bridge before the final chorus. I first saw her do this at Hangout Fest in 2015 and in every performance since, this moment has given me goosebumps.
Their 2014 record Voices was one of my very favorite of 2014. It’ll be interesting to see if the new record out Friday can match my enjoyment of the last one. Based on how the new tunes sounded live, it surely will give the last album a run for its money. I can’t wait to dive in.
Photo courtesy of Senpai.Jr.