Phoenix (W/ Girls and Grizzly Bear) 09/18/10

Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/

On a night where summer finally lost the battle to autumn, the Hollywood Bowl was beyond capacity and eager to get their drink on with French alt-rock superstars Phoenix. The sold out crowd was already at max capacity by the time San Francisco indie-popsters Girls kicked took to the stage. For 23 minutes, the up and coming act impressed with a mix of Beach Boys pop mixed with Ryan Adams musical appreciation. The band sounded sharp and was never overwhelmed by the fact they were performing at the legendary venue. Lead by Christopher Owens, the band won the crowd over with songs like “Hellhole Ratrace.” A major step for this band, the guys nailed their chance and sounded great while doing it.


Someone once told me that Grizzly Bear was the indie rock version of Phish. This same person told me to ignore records and check them out live if I had the chance. By the third song of their set, I couldn’t agree more. With no clear leader, the band performed a short but sweet set of laid back jazzy indie rock. The highlight of their Bowl debut was when Canadian song bird Feist joined in on the fun during the songs “Service Bell” and “Two Weeks.” With many hardcore fans of the band representing within the venue, Grizzly Bear was the perfect fit for the bill. Don’t be shocked if you catch these guys headlining this very venue one day.


It was clear from the first notes of “Lisztomania” that the crowd was ready for Phoenix. For 75 minutes, the French band held a firm grasp of the generally distracted Hollywood Bowl crowd. When not singing delicate French ballads from the middle of the crowd, the bands dance friendly euro-rock sound did a fine job of feeling larger than the actual venue. “Girlfriends”, “Rome” and “Lasso” gave the twenty-something crowd a chance to put down their wine and dance into the aisles.


The highlight of the night was “Love Like A Sunset” Pt. 1 & 2.” Using the venues Bowl as a backdrop, an intense light show was unleashed on the highly enthusiastic crowd. No doubt it was a powerful moment that none in attendance will soon forget. The other obvious highlight was the #1 radio hit single “1901.” Closing out the show, the band teased the crowd by appearing to end the song, only to hide under no stage lights and re-appear thirty seconds later. When front man Thomas Mars was not in the crowd, he was inviting it’s members up on stage to jump and move one final time. Love them or hate them, Phoenix has arrived.


A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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