On Monday night (Apr. 1), less than two weeks before they will take the stage as headliners at the 2013 Coachella fest, Phoenix performed at the 500-capacity Independent Theatre in San Francisco and played a blistering set to the sold-out crowd. After two years of not touring and working on a new album, the band showed why they’re still one of the most formidable live presences currently making rock music.
As the lights grew dark at the club, crowd members could feel the energy beginning to build; the sound of mad laughter and cheering echoed throughout the club. With a tremendous boom and the start of a light show that would make Radiohead pause, the band launched into "Entertainment," the first single from their forthcoming album ‘Bankrupt!’. Full of new wave synth hooks, the track harkens back to the heyday of David Bowie and had the crowd dancing furiously.
After the opening song, frontman Thomas Mars thanked the screaming crowd --which included San Francisco rockers Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, and Chris Owens -- for supporting the band the last several years. As the lights dimmed once more, the band jumped into their hit "Lisztomania," and with strobe lights shimmering, Mars yelped out the chorus: "Lisztomania, think less but see it grow, like a riot, like a riot, oh!" His lyrics are often delivered in off-kilter English, but that didn’t stop fans from shouting along with every syllable as if they were divine scripture.
After nearly an hour of non-stop jamming and causing conniptions of excitement in the packed space, Mars and the band left the stage, only to return moments later to screaming fans who wanted more. Mars climbed down into the front row of the audience and begin to sing a slowed-down rendition of fellow Frenchmen Air’s track "Playground Love." The song seemed to subdue the crowd as they slowly, softly, and poetically sang along, in an overwhelmingly beautiful moment. Then, "Rome" uncorked the crowd once again.
When his band mates finally left the stage, Mars was left to crowd-surf alone through the audience. With a microphone and neon cord in hand, he made his way back, thanking the the crowd profusely for their presence and support.
Here is the setlist from Phoenix's Independent Theatre performance:
3. Long Distant Call
4. The Real Thing
7. Drakkar Noir
9. S.O.S. in Bel Air
11. Trying to Be Cool
12. Oblique City
2. Playground Love
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