Jon Gitchoff's Posts
|I'm a photographer, music lover and volunteer KDHX blogger. See more of my photography at my Flickr site.|
All photos by Jon Gitchoff. View more at my Flickr site.
And don’t miss the Live at KDHX session with Fitz and the Tantrums, recorded February 12, 2011.
All photos by Jon Gitchoff. View more at my Flickr.
All photos by Jon Gitchoff. View more at my Flickr.
With a recent fall tour announcement of arenas, St. Louis was in for a treat Monday night as Phoenix played to a sold-out crowd at the Pageant. Coming out with guns blazing, frantic strobes lit the fuse for Phoenix’s set opener “Lisztomania” and thus, the dance party was on, for at the least the next 30 minutes anyway. After the high-energy start, a curtain dropped and faded into the 7-plus-minute interlude, “Love like A Sunset,” which left the crowd in a befuddled state and basically killed the momentum of both band and audience.
After this momentary lapse, the curtain dropped and the show got back on track with the band working their way through the second half of their set composed mostly of tracks off of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Once they finished the last song of the set at roughly the 50-minute mark, a chorus of groans echoed throughout the Pageant. Rest assured, the party was not over just yet and sure enough, Thomas Mars and Christian Mazzalai quickly found their way back to the stage for a slower paced rendition (lacked the dancy bounce of the original version) of “Everything is Everything” off their 2004 album, Alphabetical. Once the full band returned to wrap up the show, the crowd erupted from the opening notes of “1901″ in which Thomas Mars found himself wandering around the crowd on various tables making sure to be thankful for the enthusiasm for the band’s first ever show in St. Louis.
Fresh off a headlining appearance at Lollapalooza, something tells me the next go round Phoenix will be hitting one of our various arenas with their expansive dance rock. It’s perfectly suited for larger venues (the sheer volume and frantic crowd threatened to rip the Pageant roof off like a pop top).
This will be one of those shows you look back on in a few years and brag to all your friends you saw them first.
Decked out in tight red pants and patent leather jacket, and sporting a feather in his hair, Julian Casablancas worked the Pageant’s crowd into a hipster frenzy as he and his sextet produced a rich, beat-driven sound, drawing largely from his solo debut Phrazes for the Young.
While the opening of the set was a bit of a dud with “Ludlow Street” (slow songs to open a dance/pop show = not the best plan), the brief misstep was forgotten as the show truly began with “River of Brake Lights,” which led into one of two Strokes songs played Monday night: “Hard to Explain” turned the pit into the dance party it continued to be for the remainder of the 13-song set. Strokes song number 2 was a somber piano rendition of “I’ll Try Anything,” which provided one of the night’s many sing-along opportunities.
Casablancas, ever the showman, even busted out the seasonal track, “I Wish it was Christmas Today,” capping off an 8-song frenzy in the first part of the set. After a brief exit from the stage, the band returned, with the singer telling tales of walking down Delmar Boulevard’s “Walk of Fame,” praising us St. Louisans for our good breeding.
After a rather tongue-in-cheek introduction, Casablancas worked the crowd into a Courtney-Coxesque, bad-’80s dance with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” (personal bias: I’m a huge Springsteen fan, so this was probably the highlight of the evening for me).
The opener Haim, a band composed of 3 sisters sharing the front of the stage and vocal duties, deserves more than a mention. The sisters demonstrated some serious show(wo)manship and a flat-out ability to play rock & roll (Danielle Haim also performed with Casablancas’ rhythm section). Vocals and styles of music ranged from Patti Smith to Chrissie Hynde – two excellent role models. While the turnout on the floor was sparse for the opener, (I’m guessing the issue was the pit being 21 and up), the Haim sisters blasted their way through songs off their yet to be released album, which is currently in the mixing process.
While there are only a few more stops on this tour, I encourage concertgoers on the remaining dates to arrive early and take in what is all too rare these days: an honestly good opening act. Also, be sure to say hi to their mom who runs Hain’s merch table. The band is truly a family affair.
1. Ludlow Street
2. River of Brake Lights
3. Hard to Explain (The Strokes)
4. (new track given no name)
5. 11th Dimension
6. I’ll Try Anything (The Strokes)
7. Left & Right in the Dark
8. I Wish it was Christmas Today
9. Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)
10. Out of the Blue
11. 4 Chords of the Apocalypse
Having seen Tegan and Sara previously in 2008, I knew a few things going in that were going to happen. Those things? Great stories and great songs. The twins rival the hilarity of Ryan Adams’ banter when they delve into their past . Their appreciation for and interaction with the audience have made Tegan and Sara what they are today — a band on the rise.
After a three-song introduction from their acclaimed new album Sainthood, Tegan offered the first story of the night — one that became a theme throughout the remainder of the show — a tale of their bowling outing the previous night and the insight that Tegan is still just like her loud, younger self.
Intermingled with the stories, of course, was a catalog of moody songs (“Sainthood” and “The Con”) and acoustic pop (“So Jealous”). While the material for the Quin twins is sometimes bleak, especially on the subject of love, they kept spirits high with more between-song stories of their eclectic past.
Also worth mentioning is Tegan’s discussion of the duo going through therapy with a sports psychologist during their early career; the therapist apparently had a fancy Web site containing a picture of her on a horse — yes, a horse. That story scored big laughs and cheers. While stage effects were minimal in their previous show at the Pageant, the twins added some serious mood to the atmosphere with new lighting rigs that bathed the sisters and their backing band in waves of purple and red hues.
An idea that has become somewhat rare is the acoustic encore, but Tegan and Sara were kind enough to perform one, putting a new spin on the undeniably catchy “Back In Your Head,” featuring Tegan on xylophone and Sara keeping tempo on acoustic. It was a fitting way to wind down the evening with a singalong echoing throughout the Pageant.
I can say that while they may be supporting Paramore on the upcoming Honda Civic Tour this summer, I can only hope their new, wider audience is deserving of their quirks and talents.
Photo courtesy of jthees on Flickr.
Set list (per setlist.fm):
1. The Ocean
2. On Directing
3. The Cure
4. You Wouldn’t Like Me
5. I Bet it Stung
6. The Con
9. Night Watch
10. Red Belt
11. Soil, Soil
12. Monday Monday Monday
13. Where Does The Good Go
14. Speak Slow
15. Walking With A Ghost
16. So Jealous
17. Hop a Plane
19. Sentimental Tune
Back In Your Head
Dark Come Soon
Call It Off
Neko Case and her band performed for an appreciative and attentive crowd at the Pageant last Thursday, November 5, 2009. I took some photos. View more after the jump and check out my Flickr site for more concert photography.