What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Review: Phantogram, Exitmusic rock a packed house at Cat's

Posted November 22, 2011

Concertgoers were treated to a fine double bill featuring two enticing acts out of New York, Exitmusic and Phantogram, at Cat's Cradle last week. 

The opener, Exitmusic, originally started as a husband and wife duo but for the live show they operate as a four piece, with drummer Dru Prentiss and live mixer/programmer Nicholas Shelestak on stage expand the sound.

The band hit the stage to very dim lights and an eager crowd. Exitmusic's sound has various blueprints of ethereal rock genre and melodic dark pop songs that are methodical building blocks that layers of atmospheric sounds that keep morphing.

The band is fronted by the multi-talented actress, singer, and songwriter Aleksa Pellidino who probably gets more notoriety from her character Angela Darmody on the HBO hit series "Boardwalk Empire." In the live setting, her vocals are pumped with a little bit of reverb but not too much so you can hear every word. At times, her style reminded me of Sharon Van Etten or maybe even Beth Gibbons.

Their 40 minute set was highlighted by "The Sea" and "Modern Age" which come from the EP, "From Silence." (The band's official website offers a free download of "The Sea.")

Phantogram have been building up their street cred by touring nonstop since 2009. This year, their hard work seems to be paying off as the band has landed slots at big time festivals such Coachella, Lollapalooza and were the opening act for The Glitch Mob tour.

In between their travels, they even managed to construct an album of newer material called "Nightlife." Now out on the road headlining their own tour this fall, the band is armed with a confident set list and an impressive stage show to win over even more fans.

When the band takes the stage with the house lights were dimmed to black while some ambient blue lights swirled just behind them. The band did not waste anytime getting the crowd into their street beat vibe by plowing through songs off "Eyelid Movies," which included "Futuristic Casket,""You Are The Ocean" and "Mouthful of Diamonds."

Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel traded off lead vocals for a handful of songs and then vocally worked together to add more layers to their live sound.

Sarah is intense. She has the unique ability to create these really intense moments and then bring it back down to be serene, sexy and cool. "When I'm Small" marked a great moment for Sarah and her bandmates as they perfectly built up the intensity of a whirling sound only to let it drop at just the right time.


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