Phantogram: A Sensory Experience

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Last Thursday a multitalented duo by the name of Phantogram turned The Corona theatre stage into an audiovisual performance. The two, Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, are on tour to promote their third album titled “Three”.

Since their beginnings, they have consistently evolved in interesting ways. Not so long ago they worked on “Big Grams” with Big Boi from Outcast and have contributed to other artists’ works. Their sound seems familiar but does not fit in to one concise category, making it appealing to many different audiences. Personally, I must say it is not just their sound that satisfies me but also their style. Phantogram not only feeds the ears but the eyes as well. It is quite a sensory experience. From their name to their music to the stage, they keep you intrigued.

As I waited for their show to begin, I was looking for hints as to what to expect visually and then a black net went up in front of the stage. It looked like nothing until the show started. A series of lights were projected onto the stage creating images on the net. These images morphed constantly from smoke to shapes to Carter or Barthel’s faces. They did so with such fluidity that you could barely notice it. This did not stop you from seeing the performance behind. Both Carter and Barthel showed great versatility, alternating between instruments and singing, all with swagger. They performed songs from all three albums fulfilling anyones desires to hear their favourite songs. There seems to be new additions to their performance, both a drummer who seemed really into it and what I could only conclude as a guitar, bass and synth player who was partially hidden in smoke. All to say that it is clear the band is experimenting with new ideas which appears to be working quite well.

Near the end of the show things toned down a bit and got sentimental with home videos being projected onto the net. I could only assume it was an homage to Barthel’s sister who passed during the production of “Three”. The bands choice to share this with their fans is admirable and brave. If that isn’t enough, the band stuck around after the show to sign albums at the merch table. Their music has for the most part spoken about the darker side which makes it so appealing when paired with such visceral visual elements that they display both in their music videos and concerts. The versatility that Barthel and Carter display in skills can also be found in their music. One of the things that makes them so intriguing is their ability to take the struggles of life and turn it into something that their fans can not only enjoy poetically but dance to as well.

The show did not disappoint and the dreadful rain was well worth the experience. For those of you that missed the show, or are new to Phantogram, although it is too soon to say for sure, I can only assume they will be back. This duo has too much creative talent and drive to stop now. There is no doubt in my mind that there is so much more to come from them.