French indie-pop band Phoenix made their first-ever concert appearance last night in Providence, RI. This was the latest coup by the re-energized Strand Theatre to win over established indie-cred bands recently to recognize Providence as an earnest concert market.
Interesting note: It was noted on my Facebook page that on the same day, I went to a previous Phoenix gig back in 2010. At that time, they played in Boston at Agganis Arena.
The rock-edged, but disco-centric gig was the latest in a series of gigs by the Versailles-based collective, led by the lanky vocalist Thomas Mars. Opting to bypass Boston this time around, instead, winning over Providence fans with stylistic synthesized nuggets from their latest release, Ti Amo. Kicking off the night with a nouveau-70’s track, “J-Boy”, the thematic presentation was enhanced by a large mirrored panel suspended at an angle that reflected the band members below and LED images projected from the floor. This served as a visual backdrop that reflected the floor images in reverse with the band superimposed in a perspective-skewed tableau.
Phoenix’s video of the percolating keyboard track, “J-Boy” can be viewed here.
Peppering with the setlist with old and new favorites, Phoenix included such hits as “Lisztomania”, “Lasso”, “Ti Amo” and concluding with its breakthrough smash, “1901”. (YouTube Video: 1901)
But it all came together with a retro vibe of a dance hall in France flavored with the trappings of Day-Glo lighting and silhouetted dancers.