Alexandra Palace – 30th September
“Headline from this day on,” announced Thomas Mars on ‘Entertainment’ on 2013’s Bankrupt! It’s a ballsy statement, but indeed, four years on and tonight celebrating the success of sixth record Ti Amo, here are Versailles synth-rock band Phoenix, true to their frontman’s word, about to headline London’s gigantic Alexandra Palace.
Support for the evening comes from Kitsuné’s freshest export Parcels. The Berlin-based Australians seem pumped with confidence, unfazed by the mammoth crowd building quickly in the vast space between the palace walls. The boomy acoustics don’t do the dry, clean guitars of the band’s disco sound the justice they deserve, though people are impressed regardless; recent single and Daft Punk collaboration ‘Overnight’ seem a particular pleaser. Their vibrant and light-hearted demeanour are well suited to the gelato-sweet aesthetic of Phoenix and their new record.
Indeed, soon enough the stark falling synths of Ti Amo’s lead single ‘J-Boy’ announce the return of the French maestros. A silver curtain falls to reveal a striking optical illusion: a vast mirror the width of the stage is hung over the band at a 45 degree angle, reflecting the band over shifting LED images. As touring drummer Thomas Hedlund punches his way into ‘Lasso’ from 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix soon after, it’s clear that tonight isn’t just to promote the new record; far from it, their show tonight is a career-spanning set, peppering the oriental-synths of ‘Entertainment’ from Bankrupt! with some of their oldest material such as the euphoric ‘Long Distance Call’.
It’s the likes of ‘Lisztomania’ and an encore rendition of ‘1901’ that understandably shake the hall most though, with Mars floating effortlessly atop the crowd as the latter blends back into the sexy disco riff of ‘Ti Amo’. It sounds and looks huge, and as Mars somehow makes his way back to the stage, it’s clear that almost two decades in the game, Phoenix deserve every ounce of headline status.