Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Phoenix at the Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas

Phoenix is everywhere. In case you have been living under a rock, you probably would instantly recognize the synthesizer pulses of "1901" featured in the recent Cadillac commercials. Even the Grammys had enough sense to award Phoenix with the Best Alternative Album.

I previously caught up with Phoenix when they rocked the Wiltern, blew up the Greek Theater and nearly stole the show at KROQ Acoustic Christmas. When I saw their scheduled appearance in Las Vegas at the Joint, I couldn't pass up the chance to see them one more time before their stop at Coachella.


Armed with Fender guitars, Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai had the crowd immediately shuffling their feet to the breezy chords of "Liztomania". The Joint was packed for a Thursday night and probably outnumbered the amount of people that attended Morrissey at the Joint on a Friday night.

Thomas Mars had plenty of room to pace the stage and was dragging his red microphone chord across the stage while singing "Long Distance Call". Mars quickly apologized for apparently losing his voice on the way to Las Vegas from their show the night before in Reno. The crowd though impressively stepped up their game and sang along for a number of the songs which seemed to give Mars more strength and confidence.

Thomas Hedlund was still drumming as forceful as I remembered, leaping off his drum throne to pummel his kit. Robin Coudert was behind a trio of keyboards along with a hi-hat to add extra layers of sound to the mix. "Consolation Prizes" went over well with the crowd, but the energy level spiked once Phoenix went back "Lasso" from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Mars had some slight wobbles with the high notes of "Girlfriend" but shifted his voice after a few bars.

"Love Like A Sunset" gave Mars a well deserved rest as Brancowitz and Mazzalai exchanging guitar riffs for an extended slowed down version of the song. "Rome" was dedicated to Lisa Fendelander of Sea Wolf since it was her birthday. Who said French people weren't polite? A short encore break had Mars and Mazzalai on stage together for a sparse arrangement of "Everything Is Everything".

The Joint would finally erupt into chaos though when Phoenix fired up "1901". Since there was no photo pit, the audience easily jumped on the stage and danced along. I wish I had my camera with me, because a few hundred people had made it up on stage. One can only imagine if this chaos happened at Coachella.

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