Upstate New York electronic duo Phantogram, comprised of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter, presents one of the premier live shows in the scene today. Behind extraordinary visuals and a sound stage presence, Phantogram gave The Ritz in Raleigh a psychedelic evening with their uncategorized tunes. The jury is still out on the which specific genre the pair’s music fits into, however the packed house in the North Carolina didn’t care and all agreed on one thing – Phantogram is worth every penny of the entry price.
Upon taking the stage, an oversized black curtain draped from the ceiling, hiding the two musicians. It was dark and grim, fitting with Halloween around the corner. A projection of the performers played on the large scrim, illuminating the two vocalists as silhouettes.
The curtain eventually opened to a rousing cheer from the audience and unveiled both Barthel and Carter. Dressed in an all-black rocker outfit, Barthell whipped her hair through the air while her counterpart strummed away, more focused than ever. The light coordination was impressive as Phantogram led off with “Funeral Pyre,” the first track off their most recent album release, Three.
Blinding white lights beamed into the crowd as Phantogram transitioned into “You’re Mine” and “Same Old Blues.” The performance began to give off the vibe of an amplified house show more than anything else – judging by the crowd’s response to each eye-appealing twirl, that was more than okay.
The transcendent introduction slowed down with “Answer,” another track from Three. The emotional track that highlights both Barthel and Carter’s vocals set the stage for “Mouthful of Diamonds,” a throwback to the duo’s debut record. With nearly 12 songs under their belt, Phantogram teased the audience and cracked that “When I’m Small” was their final song of the night. The audience played along and hollered in hopes that Phantogram would grant their wishes.
As desired, Phantogram returned to perform a long, rare encore that featured “Fall in Love” and “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.” All night, there was an energy that possessed the audience. In regards to the performance, Phantogram rocked (psychedelically, of course), things rolled, fans grooved and so called synth-pop filled the air emitting feel good vibes that seemed to never wear off.