Phantogram at the Music Box Last Friday Night
Mary Carreon/OC Weekly

Phantogram at the Music Box Last Friday Night


Nov. 4, 2011 
The Music Box 

A contagious energy spread through the Music Box as the electro-pop band Reptar (yes, like giant green dinosaur from the Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats) opened up the Phantogram show. The quartet, which sounds like an '80s version of Vampire Weekend (with a hint of MGMT),  danced on stage spastically with an excitement I've never witnessed from a band before. As front man and guitarist Graham Ulicny belted out songs and showcased his unique facial expressions, keyboardist William Kennedy headbanged so vigorously I thought he was going to smack his head against the keyboard a few times. 

Mary Carreon/OC Weekly

At one point, all four of the band members were jumping up and down and dancing so hard, I couldn't concentrate on all of the action on stage. The group played songs off of their EP Oblangle Fizz Y'All, which set the stage perfectly for the headliners. 

By the time Phantogram was about to come on, the Music Box was near capacity and people were getting a little crazy. As people swarmed the bar, it seemed that everyone at the venue was drunk. Security even had to clear the center of the floor because someone had blown chunks all over the place, which was horrifyingly disgusting. Luckily, the yack was cleaned up before the lights went down.

When the New York based indie-pop band finally took the stage, the crowd went berserk. Phantogram opened up with the song "Don't Move" off their newest EP, Nightlife. Frontwoman and keyboardist Sarah Barthel's angelic vocals over Josh Carter's clear-cut guitar riffs and Tim Oakley's drum beats was exactly what the doctor ordered. The trio engulfed themselves into their instruments, which made for a tight sounding set.

Although the interaction between the musicians and the crowd was minimal, it was difficult not to become captivated by the multi-colored psychedelic lights and the catchy tunes. The best part of the set came when the New Yorkers played two of their best songs back to back. Three songs in, the trio played their hits "Running From The Cops" followed by "Mouth Full Of Diamonds," which caused the crowd to break out into song and dance. Everyone in the venue sang every word to both songs, which created a feeling of unity between the musicians and the crowd. Phantogram gave a spotless performance, making it an undeniably enjoyable event to have attended. 

The Crowd: Everyone in the crowd was pretty young and coupled off for the most part.

Overheard In the Crowd: "...And that's what happens when you drink too much vodka."

Critic's Bias: Phantogram's album Eyelid Movies has been in the CD player of my car for the last nine months. Oh, and I think Sarah Barthel looks awesome in black leather pants.

Random Notebook Dump: At one (weird) point toward the end of the show, I watched a man who looked about 6'3'' get on the shoulders of another man and wave his arms around like a banshee. 

Set List: 
Don't Move 
Bloody Palms 
Running From The Cops 
Mouth Full of Diamonds 
As Far As I Can See 
Turning Into Stone 
You Are The Ocean 
10,000 Claps 
Making A Fist 
Turn It Off 
16 Years 
Futuristic Casket 
When I'm Small 
Night Life 
All Dried Up


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