Monday, 26 October 2009

Live Review: Phoenix, Birmingham Academy 2, 24/10/2009

I arrive at the Birmingham Academy in the worst mood I’ve been in for some time, a result of the early show time (6:00!), Birmingham’s labyrinth road system and some over-zealous security staff who had helpfully barricaded off the entrance to the venue.

Once inside my frustration is somewhat appeased by the lovely Chairlift, Bruises (you know, from the iPod ads) is particularly nice. But all their efforts are undone by some infuriatingly slow bar service.

With overpriced Danish lager in hand, I shuffle to the front of the small room.

I am ready to hate the night’s main performance, hate everyone around me and go home in a huff.

Then Phoenix wander on stage looking as cool as ever and my foul mood is forgotten before they reach chorus of their first song Lisztomania. Perhaps a liberal prescription of French pop would make the world a better place. Phoenix-mania anyone?

If you thought starting with Lisztomania (easily one of the year’s best songs) was an ambitious move you would be right, but Phoenix have so many great songs that it works. Older tracks such as Long Distance Call and Run Run Run only sound better played next to newer gems like tracks Lasso and Girlfriend.

Just as it does on their latest album, Love Like A Sunset is the centre piece tonight. Part I provides a nice break from the action during which I take the chance to wipe the sweat from my brow before Part II and its body melting low bass note welcomes the second half of the show which starts proper with Too Young.

On Rome, singer Thomas Mars stands high at the front of the stage singing “Rome, Rome, Rome, Rome, ... something about the coliseum”, before closing the set with digitised vocals and self congratulations on Funky Squaredance.

After a minute or so of cheering, Phoenix are (of course) back for an encore which starts with the acoustic Love For Granted and If I Ever Feel Better. The last song for the night is 1901 during which Mars climbs down from the stage and pushes his way into the audience, coming to a stop right in front of me and my delighted other half as he thanks the crowd for sharing their Saturday night with the band.

No Thomas, thank you. I’m in the best mood I’ve been in for some time.

Love For Granted:

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