For once in the past few weeks, the weather is actually kind on everyone who decided to brave this Monday night, the clocks might have gone forward over the week end and stole an hour of our precious time but the Glaswegian crowd would never let a school night drag them down.
As the ballroom gets filled up with punters, slowly but surely, ‘Controversy’ by Prince blares out through the gem of a venue, the drumbeat mimicking a virtual beating heart catching everyone’s attention.
Suddenly the lights go off and the drumbeat morphs into the introduction of ‘J-Boy’ the first track from Phoenix’s latest album Ti Amo, released earlier last year, while the stage is transformed into a rainbow made of fluorescent lights.
The audience is already won over and when the heavy drums of ‘Lasso’ resonate, the packed front rows are jumping frenetically in unison, refracting the intense energy smashed on the drum set by Thomas Hedlund.
This frantic energy does not stop there, when ‘Entertainment’ kicks in the venue is already effervescing even though we are only three songs in, the only interlude in this melodic madness arrives before ‘Lisztomania’, when lead singer Thomas Mars approaches the crowd explaining that tonight he is going to need their help as his voice is “fucked” (his words not mine), this invitation is just what the crowd required to set the place on fire.
What transcribes from the band is what is felt through the crowd, everyone is lifted by the music, whether it is from some slow burner electro indie anthems like ‘Girlfriend’ or from guitar-driven fast paced tracks like ‘Armistice’ or ‘Rally’.
A certain intimacy builds between the band and the crowd and the atmospheric rendition of ‘Love Like A Sunset pt1’ proves just that.
The slow melody that builds to its crescendo is as close as it gets to an out-of-body-ish sonic experience.
The audience is conquered and when the lead singer expresses his love for “the best venue around” nothing else matters.
The night gets more and more intimate when the band comes back for a few more encores with only Mars and Christian Mazzalai at first, courting the crowd with a cover of ‘The Concept’ by local boys Teenage Fanclub before inviting everyone to celebrate Deck D’Arcy’s birthday on stage.
As a last hurrah, the band invites everyone to unleash what they have left on ‘Fior Di Latte’, for a final communion with the crowd and whomever present, even the sound engineer and light technician singalong.
The audience leaves the Barrowlands again with stars in their eyes; tonight Phoenix prove that the audience is the essential part of a great show and used their songs to transport the crowd away from the daily routine for a great couple of hours.
Words: Jeremy Veyret
Photos: Brendan Behan