Concert Review: Phantogram at Union Transfer 12/6/13

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by Kirsten Becker

Phantogram’s sold ­out stop at the Union Transfer on December 6th was part of their highly anticipated tour in support of their latest album, Voices, which is also their first album in four years.

I was pleasantly surprised by opener Until the Ribbon Breaks, the relatively new project of Welshman Pete Lawrie. The act blends electronic elements seen in recent dance music as well as plain old rock influences. At various points during the set Lawrie showed off his talents on the trumpet as well as other instruments, and displayed his versatility in his unique style of music. Welsh’s distorted vocals also added an interesting addition to his somber lyrics. Songs like “2025,” “Romeo,” and “Pressure” won the crowd over. Until the Ribbon Breaks is definitely a band to look out for in 2014, and you should expect to see more news from Lawrie’s project in the future.

Phantogram came on around 11:00 p.m. to an ecstatic crowd. Singer Sarah Barthel’s powerful voice cut through the band’s shoegaze vibes. A chilling rendition of “Mouthful of Diamonds” captivated the audience as well as fan­favorite “When I’m Small”. The quirky “Running From the Cops” featured guitarist Josh Carter taking over vocal duties.

Their latest single, “Black Out Days” showed a different side of the band. The high energy song accompanied by an incredible light show brought the performance up another notch. Barthel took the time between songs to thank the crowd and Philadelphia for consistently being a great place to play. It was visible she and Carter were feeding off the crowd’s energy and were having a great time on stage.

Phantogram played a couple more new songs from Voices including “Never Going Home” and “The Day You Died” before finally ending the set just around midnight.

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