Concert Review: Phantogram at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN – October 10, 2013

Phantogram-First Avenue - Joe Stadele Photography (5)

  • First Avenue
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Opener: Future Islands
  • October 10, 2013 by The Way That He Sings
  • Photos and review by Joe Stadele for The Way That He Sings on October 11, 2013.


Phantogram have been making headway.  Since the first time I saw the duo perform in the tiny basement of the Madison, WI record store Strictly Discs (October 23, 2010), Phantogram have releases two EP’s, induced a record label bidding war and collaborated on some stellar tracks with Big Boi (of Outkast) and The Flaming Lips.  The duo have been busy recording a new album, contributing the new track “Lights” to the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack and the release of their new self-titled 4-song teaser EP; not to mention a performance on the Jimmy Fallon Show earlier in the week and tour dates in between.  You might begin to wonder if they are beginning to forget what day or city they are performing in, which might explain the “YOU’RE IN Minneapolis” written at the top of Thursday night’s setlist at First Avenue.  For good reason, Phantogram’s show was a tough ticket to find with the increasing anticipation swirling around the duo.


Phantogram-First Avenue - Joe Stadele Photography (15)Phantogram’s sold out performance was met with strobes and see-sawing lights to induce a seizure.  Sarah Barthel’s breathy vocals, head bops and gyrations were mimicked through the crowd while guitarist, Josh Carter, remained more reserved throughout the show.  After an opening instrumental, “Mouthful of Diamonds” and the new single, “Black Out Days” were early favorites which had the crowd dancing.  The audience’s energetic reception urged Barter’s laments of thanks and appreciation of the Minneapolis crowd; which she claimed to be one of her absolute favorite cities to perform.

Thursday night’s show served as an opportunityPhantogram-First Avenue - Joe Stadele Photography (50) to promote the new Phantogram EP and road test new material (presumably) from their forthcoming album, Voices (due in early 2014).  Backed with a touring keyboardist/bassist and drummer, the new tracks were met with positive reception.  Though the excitement was most felt during older tracks such as ”When I’m Small” and “As Far As I Can See”.  The band kept the fans danicing until the very end.

Future Islands opened the show with an intense and animated performance by lead vocalist, Sam Herring; whose vocals ranged from croon to death metal growl.  Phantogram’s Sarah Bartel was clearly enjoying her opener’s performance as she danced away (right behind me) through the performance.

Phantogram-First Avenue - Joe Stadele Photography (33)


  • Instrumental Intro
  • 16 Years
  • Running From the Cops
  • Mouthful of Diamonds
  • Black Out Days
  • Nothing But Trouble
  • Turning Into Stone
  • As Far As I Can See
  • Never Going Home
  • Don’t Move
  • Turn It OffPhantogram-First Avenue - Joe Stadele Photography (23)
  • Howl
  • You Are The Ocean
  • The Day You Died
  • When I’m Small


  • Celebrating Nothing
  • Futuristic Casket

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