The Hollywood Bowl was the place to be this past Thursday night. Grammy Award-winning synth-pop slayers, Phoenix were headlining. Making their last stop in the US. for this tour before making an appearance across European festivals, they sure brought the heat. Touring in support of their latest and sixth studio album, Ti Amo, the guys have only stepped their game up that much more. Lucky for us they brought along some friends we love to get the night started.
First up were Long Island brothers, The Lemon Twigs. Holy smokes! These lanky kids know how to rock. The sun was not down yet, so we had a clear view of the two musicians on stage, strutting their stuff. I’ve recently got into their music as a suggestion on my lovely Spotify account, and have been looking forward to catching them at Outside Lands at Golden Gate Park in August. Tonight was a previewing treat for sure. They shine and transport you from our era back in time to the 60’s baroque pop and 70’s power pop/rock sounds. I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you have yet to.
As if they weren’t fun enough, we also had the pleasure of catching my personal dream-pop lord, Mac DeMarco.
Mac Daddy stuck out like the silly guy he is on the big bowl’s stage alongside his bandmates. It’s clear to know what to expect from our favorite gap-toothed musician, and his opening set was no disappointment. It was very nice hearing him perform the favorites as well as new jammers from his latest release from this past May, This Old Dog. He sticks to his casual and happy-go-lucky aesthetic and does it like no one else could.
The sun eventually went down and without further ado, lights on the stage flickered, illuminating a red heart on the bass drum. The French have arrived. With stinging cheers from the roughly 17,000 filled seats, Phoenix didn’t come to waste our time. Opening their 19-song set with the title track off their most recent release, Ti Amo, the crowd actually went wild. As a photographer I was instantly mesmerized by the stage production. I never enjoyed photographing the allotted first three songs more than I did at this show. The band slid into the fun track “Lasso” off their fourth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and then kept things exciting with “Entertainment” off their fifth record Bankrupt! Frontman, Thomas Mars commands the stage with his distinct vocals and backing sounds from his friends. It didn’t matter where people’s tickets placed them throughout the large venue, they were each up and dancing to the fun indie-pop sounds. The thing that’s always caught my attention with this band is their ability to evolve as musicians over the years. Six albums later, these forty-year-old mates from Versailles are better than ever. To sound so similar to the recorded tracks, yet see the energy behind it all brought to life is truly remarkable. The night shone through with nearly every hit from their discography covered and brought to life with beautiful, colorful visuals. This was my first time seeing these guys and I will make sure it won’t be my last.
Words & Photography: Danielle Gornbein
More Photos of Phoenix, Mac DeMarco and Lemon Twigs at Hollywood Bowl!