Phoenix @ Festival Hall
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Phoenix @ Festival Hall

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A Phoenix show in 2014 has been lovingly crafted and intricately designed to overwhelm the senses in the most caressing je ne sais quoi kind of way. Opening with the 1-2-3 wallop of otherwise encore level songs EntertainmentLassoLisztomania feels like a statement of intent: tonight we want to make you feel bon, les gars. There was a dazzling stadium LED light show that also flicked across stock footage of 1960s cars zipping around the Arc De Triomphe.

There was speaker-shredding bass during Chloroform and instrumental medley Sunskrupt that shook the soul and threatened to do funny things to your lower intestines. And of course there was Thomas Mars entering the crowd at any given moment to rile up the kids, get his hair tussled and at one point, his belt undone. Like their skinny jeans and tailored shirts may suggest, they have trimmed all excess fat from the set and made medleys of older songs like Too Young and Girlfriend. Even new songs got reduced to their purest essence, with Trying To Be Cool segueing into the outro of Drakkoir Noir. It means you still get to hear your favourite song; you just might not hear anything beyond the first chorus.

It’s one big hands-in-the-air party during Consolation Prizes and 1901 to close the main set, and then Thomas and Christian return after the break for a campfire singalong version of Countdown (For The Sick Sun). Introduced as one of the first songs they wrote, If I Ever Feel Better morphed into part of Funky Squaredance and then Thomas put his extension cord and security team to the test and took a stroll through the back of the venue and up the balcony to individually thank everyone for coming. Ce qu’un gars.

BY NICK HILTON

Photos by Charles Newbury

Loved: The double-cheeked Euro-kiss Thomas gave Deck to welcome him back on stage during the encore.

Hated: The over familiar pat-downs on entry.

Drank: Two measly Coopers Lagers.