Words: Shayna Chabrow
Photography: Jonathan Navarro
Phantogram kicked off the month of March by playing an electric, sold out show at the Crystal Ballroom Wednesday evening. They were back in the city of Portland after they were forced to reschedule their originally scheduled December to Remember show due to snow. The crowd was antsy to see the New York duo perform as they had been sitting on their tickets for almost 3 months, waiting to hear songs from their newest album Three live.
The show opened with the ominous sounds of “Funeral Pyre,” Sarah Barthel dawning an all black get up that contrasted with her platinum blonde hair and guitarist Josh Carter rocking casual streetwear. Once Barthel let loose her powerful vocals, the heavy synths and power chords came in and a wave of movement ran the crowd.
The room was officially warmed up and the duo expressed their excitement to be back in Portland. Barthel acknowledged not being able to play back in December and said, “Sorry… God’s fault,” before going into “Black Out Days,” their standout from 2014’s Voices. Phantogram left no hit track unplayed as they dug up songs from their 2011 EP Nightlife and their debut album Eyelid Movies. Their songs sounded even more commanding and forceful live than they do on their studio albums. Barthel has a unique craft of turning breathy vocals into power ballads. Carter is able to sync his strident guitar ever so smoothly with Barthel’s keys, this showing off beautifully during “Answer.”
When the duo came back on stage, they began with the slow build-up of “Barking Dog,” one of the rare tracks that Carter takes lead vocals on, before going into “Cruel World” and “Falling In Love.” Barthel made sure to send recognition to every part of the room as she traveled across the entire stage and pointed to the back shouting, “I see you!” Phantogram ended the night with their radio hit “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” and left the stage holding their and the crowd’s hearts.