Phantogram Rains Down The Beat At Lupo’s

PHOTO CREDIT: Seth Shapiro

PHOTO CREDIT: Seth Shapiro

Electro rock act Phantogram rose to prominence in 2016 in upstate New York. The duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter released their stellar follow-up to their 2014 gem Voices with Three this past October and it reached high on numerous charts. Their incredible sound has a dedicated fan base, and it’s easy to understand why once you witness them live. In front of an amped audience at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on January 12, Phantogram brought their A game.

Opening up the show were the Los Angeles based indie-pop quartet Foreign Air. I didn’t really know much about them ahead of their set, but the band brought an atmospheric, chill vibe with a smooth beat. Reminiscent of the British act Alt-J, Foreign Air had vocal melodies that would vary between being robust and high-pitched. It seemed as if they were trying to get people to dance with the rhythmic tones they were conveying; not everyone was getting down with it at first, but the sensation began to take hold with a group of ladies near one of the bars. The band’s dance moves were kind of weird and the whispering after one of the songs was a bit off-putting, but overall it wasn’t a bad performance.

Lupo’s filled up and people were getting excited. A beam of light came from the stage and Phantogram proceeded to take things over with a sonically induced beginning as they played “Funeral Pyre.” Joined by guitarist and synth player Nick Shelestak and drummer Chris Carhart, Carter lit up a cigarette and Barthel proceed to captivate the crowd with her stunning vocals on “Black Out Days.” The riffs from the guitars got amped up during “Turning Into Stone” and then the band followed it up with the stunning “Don’t Move.” Both Carter and Barthel were dynamic as they alternated and harmonized on vocals during “You’re Mine” while they fed off the audience’s energy.

One of the numerous instances of simultaneous clapping between the band and people in attendance started off “Same Old Blues” while “Mouthful Of Diamonds” walked the line between being mellow and emphatic. The crowd erupted with cheers when the loop for “When I’m Small” kicked in; people grooved from start to finish and it was a fantastic finale to the initial set. Everyone wanted more. Phantogram delivered as Carter walked out and dedicated “Barking Dog” to Barthel’s sister Becky who committed suicide last year. It was an emotional beginning to an amazing encore that nobody at Lupo’s wanted to end.

Barthel walked out on to the stage and gave Carter a hug. Then they went right into “Cruel World” and the ante was upped to the highest it had been at during the entire show. “Fall In Love” and “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” closed out Phantogram’s memorable performance. It was a show that was worth the buzz and it served as the perfect spark for what promises to be an amazing year for live music in Providence. Barthel, Carter and company commanded the crowd’s attention from start to finish.

Stream Three via Phantogram’s Soundcloud here:; Phantogram’s Website:


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