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Review Wed Jun 17 2009

Review: Phoenix and Amazing Baby @ Park West 6/13/09

phoenix_02.jpgIt's not often that I'm pressed up against the stage at a concert, but that was the case Saturday night at Park West for French indie pop group Phoenix. I was first turned on to the group by the song "Long Distance Call," and was thrilled when they finally announced a US tour. We got there early (for an early show at that) to see opener Amazing Baby and found a nice little pocket up front before the venue filled up. I had forgotten how great it can be to be so close to the band.

Take five guys with long, shaggy hair, a clear guitar, rainbow see-thru drum-set, headbanging, jumping, and a couple American Apparel-clad dancers in the crowd and what have you got?.. Amazing Baby. Standout songs "Bayonets" and "Headdress" from their new album Rewild (which comes out next week on Shangri-la Music) are the perfect example of the mature, enveloping songs that come from this young-looking Brooklyn group. They packed a punch on the song "The Narwhal" which has an almost primal sound--going with the "rewilding" theme of the new album--with a 70's Fleetwood Mac vibe and a rocking ending. Continuing with the "undomestication" they chant "we are starving cannibals, she protects her animals" on "Smoke Bros." (P.S. You can get a free download of "Smoke Bros" on their website.)

After Amazing Baby's set, you would think that the night couldn't get any better, but then Phoenix took the stage. Phoenix has been at the top of their game, with a knockout performance on SNL where they were asked to play a third song, a hit single--"1901"-- that has been remixed by just about every DJ with a turntable, and a new album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which is already being tossed around as the best of 2009. Lead singer Thomas Mars has a knack for swirling vocals on choruses, and singing things like "I'll do anything you ask and more" that would melt the heart of any indie-chick. They came into Chicago after playing Bonnaroo the day before, and opened with another hit single from WAP, "Listzomania." Let me make this clear, there were stadium level cheers throughout the whole show, especially on danceable tracks such as this one.

They played for almost an hour and a half, with several outstanding moments including "Napoleon Says," the hard rock ending of "Run Run Run" and experimental instrumental "Love Like a Sunset" which Mars hid down on the ground for, giving the rest of the band the floor (which made me think what a great song it would be for putting your speakers on the ground, turning the bass up and laying on the floor of your own apartment).

The highlight of the night by far was the encore. Saving "1901" for last, they completed the song, but then started playing again--the band looking at each other like they didn't know what was going on--when Mars started into the chorus again, jumped into the crowd and hopped up on to a table in the middle of the crowd. A stellar performance. If you ever have the chance to see these guys live--GO.

(Photo by Jim Kopeny)

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sarah / June 24, 2009 12:42 PM

check out a little review i found at

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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