US duo Phantogram released their stomping dark-pop album Three last month and have taken it on the road for a tour that has taken in the US, Europe and a four-date UK schedule. The London leg sold out underneath the arches at Heaven and was a chance to hear the diversity of a band that can scale the extremes of emotion and raw energy.
The sweet yet powerful lead vocals of Sarah Barthel are something of a focal point for much of their live performance, yet Josh Carter’s stage presence dominates at other times. Several tracks from Three stood out. The kicked off with album opener Funeral Pyre and also included Same Old Blues, Answer, You’re Mine and Destroyer.
They also more than adequately delved into their back catalogue – importantly for the fans who rarely get to see them live so seldom are their visits to the UK (not counting their support slot on a couple of dates on Muse‘s Drones tour earlier this year). Black Out Days, Howling at the Moon and Bad Dreams all figured from 2014’s Voices album, while Mouthful of Diamonds and the superb When I’m Small from their 2010’s Eyelid Movies also got an airing.
There were also a couple of gems from their 2011 EP Nightlife – Don’t Move and Turning Into Stone – before a four song encore brought us back to the present by including recent single Cruel World and ending with the epic You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.
The New Yorkers gave an assured performance that was slick and engaging, albeit lacking a little of the personality that we know they have in abundance. For a band that visits these shores so rarely, a tad more interaction between songs would have been good for the loyalists among the fans, but really this is nitpicking. They put on a great show, superbly bringing their powerful and atmospheric sound to life. We’re already hoping they don’t leave it nearly so long to return next time.
Phantogram – You Don’t Get Me High Anymore