Being able to see an Austin City Limits taping is one thing I love about the city of Austin. I haven’t always been lucky enough to win tickets to every show I wanted to see in the past (they give them away for free by lottery) but this time around I was able to see one of my favorite bands, Phoenix. With great seats and a clear view of the band, I was ready to be rocked. After a five year hiatus, they released their new record Bankrupt! on April 22, 2013 and I was super excited to hear the new songs as well as old favorites.
They opened the show with their new single “Entertainment” and got the crowd going wild immediately. We were in store for a high energy and fun night. Playing mostly new songs from Bankrupt!, they also played all the hits from their breakthrough predecessor Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Hits like “Fences,” “Lasso,” “Armistice” and “Lisztomania” got the crowd going and singing along. A girl next to me had brought her mom, who clearly didn’t know who the band was when they started, but by 2 songs in, I saw her dancing and saying to her daughter, “I really like these guys!” They even pulled out “Too Young” from their debut album and melded it into a medley with “Girlfriend” from the new album. Then the band played a trio of songs off the new record, “Trying To Be Cool”, “Drakkar Noir” and “Chloroform,” going from one right into the other like one long song. They ended the main set with “1901” getting tons of cheers and people shouting “ENCORE!” after they were done.
But they were not done. Singer Thomas Mars made his way into the crowd and guitarist Christian Mazzalai returned to the stage to do intimate versions of “Countdown” and the Air song “Playground Love” from The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, for which Mars provided the lyrics and vocals when Phoenix was Air’s backing band back in the day. For a fan like me, this was the ultimate. The rest of the band came back to the stage and they played through “Don’t” and “Rome.” After that, the band vamped through a section of “Entertainment” again while Mars climbed the bleachers into the crowd of people seated in the upper sections. Back on stage, the drummer threw his sticks out to the crowd, Mars slammed the microphone down, breaking it into pieces, which he seemed surprised about. So he threw the pieces out to the audience, and uttered a breathless “Good night!” and the night was over.
Truly an awesome night of music, I was thrilled to be able to share it with a few hundred people.
– Submitted by Mandi LeBlanc, Music Design