Published March 15, 2017 by JB
Monday night’s in downtown Madison are a tough sell for concert-goers; especially off the heals of a 7-inch snowstorm and blizzard like conditions with many restaurants closed for the night. But Sarah Barthel, the primary energy source for Phantogram, was built to melt snow.
The crowd was light as only 1000 made it inside the 1700 capacity Orpheum Theater (I didn’t realize this place almost burned down in December 2004 due to arson), so there was plenty of blank spaces to move around in. However, except for the disinterested spouses in the reserved seating area, the faithful lined the general admission area as Phantogram jumped from hit song to hit song. By the time they got around to ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’ there were 900 were standing, and 100 checking the clock every 8 minutes. I was with the 900.
Phantogram is essential glam pop-rock, really steering clear of any particular genre. With bandmate and collaborator Josh Carter strolling behind, Ms. Barthel is the show’s main attraction – making all the sexy dance moves and hitting all the right notes. Several years ago they perhaps didn’t have the catalog to carry a show for 90 minutes but that is no longer the case. Supporting their new album, Three, the dynamic duo provide a mix that is one half Garbage and the other half Metric. Carter may lay the foundation, but the stage sizzles with Barthel. She’s sexy, talented and unstoppable from the opening bell.