Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter anointed Los Angeles’ newest downtown music venue, The Bellwether, as its inaugural band and did so with fiery aplomb. The duo hit the stage hard, opening with “You’re Mine” complete with its strong volleying vocals soaring over deep beats, and “Black Out Days,” with Sarah’s voice gliding through slick dark synths.
Together, the two songs served as a reminder to fans packed tight against the new venue’s pristine stage, many waiting to see the band after a three-year hiatus away from playing LA, about what sets the band apart: the duo’s innate ability to create music that vacillates from sweet and ethereal to raw and real, confounding standard labeling.
Phantogram pushed forward, pulling out more heavy hitters and deep cuts including, “Run Run Blood” off their inspirational album Three and “Don’t Move” off the EP Nightlife. During “Pedestal,” Sarah momentarily paused to reach out to the audience in the pit and above in the rafters with a reassurance that, “Everything is going to be okay, everything is going to be okay…” and for the rest of the evening, everything was more than okay.
The pair continued bringing forth enigmatic, dark energy by diving into fan favorites including “Mouthful of Diamonds” and “Howling at the Moon,” yet still taking a few breaks to interject lightheartedness – like Sarah referencing Josh as being her long-time best friend and how they created the limited edition “Grounded” t-shirt design complete with an up-close portrait of her dog Carl.
“Mister Impossible” and “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” both highlighting the band’s mastery of blending beats with samples and effects rounded out the main set. The audience’s wild applause barely let Phantogram have a moment off stage before beckoning them back to the lights. The pair’s return didn’t disappoint, with Sarah and Josh delivering a poignant encore, thanking their fans for helping them open The Bellwether’s doors, before moving into the touching, “Answer” and ending with the epic “When I’m Small.” The combination of songs sent their fans into a night filled with beautiful musical visions to last a lifetime.
Phantogram will open for the Queens of the Stone Age on their 2023 North American Tour. Look for new material from the band soon.
JULY 11, 2023
The Bellwether, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Black Out Days
Run Run Blood
Same Old Blues
Mouthful of Diamonds
Fall in Love
Howling at the Moon
You Don't Get Me High Anymore
When I'm Small
When I'm Small