Phantogram Bring The Night Vibes To The Governors Ball 2012

Carl Williott | June 25, 2012 10:00 am

Though we previously said that Phantogram were meant to perform at night, it turns out it doesn’t matter when they play, because they’ll bring that sultry mystery of the dark regardless of the circumstances. Like The Jezabels, Phantogram’s members were dressed entirely in black under the hot sun on the second day of The Governors Ball on NYC’s Randall’s Island Sunday (Jun. 24). The duo-plus-drummer served up lush synths, surgical percussion and minimalist guitar lines, creating an enveloping sound that wrapped around the crowd like a cold wind. A cold wind you can dance to.

“Turning Into Stone”, off this year’s Nightlife EP, had a particularly throbbing low end, perforated by a needling guitar line, which demonstrated their formula at its best. And despite all the icy synths and angular rhythms, Phantogram kept from sounding dark and dystopian. Some songs, like the sample-heavy “Don’t Move” and “As Far As I Can See”, were chilly yet quirky, while others were high-drama set pieces, such as “When I’m Small” and “Futuristic Casket”. And then there’s “Running From The Cops”, a warped dream of a song that twitched explosively live.

The overall result was one of the most compelling sets of the entire festival. Phantogram’s sonic aesthetic was clear and consistent, the acoustics for the show were pitch-perfect and their energy never faded. The whole package was the sort of thing that made you think they’d throw the world’s greatest afterparty, on some street with no name at an abandoned retail space with old black-and-white burlesque photos adorning the walls. We want to go to there.

— Photo by Loren Wohl