If Peter Silberman had chosen to record Hospice in a studio, with all the technological wizardry and bells and whistles available to him, I think it would have come out sounding a lot like their show last month at Lincoln Hall. Their live performance was Hospice as it could have been, if they’d cranked the volume up to 11 while recording. The concept album which topped many Best of 2009 lists is somewhat of an adventure, veering between softly murmured, anguished words and loud rock riffs. The live show takes the anguish and makes it even more palpable, probably because for once, it’s right there in front of you. It’s full of tension and unresolved chords and carrying through it all is Silberman’s eerie falsetto. It’s hard not to feel your heart breaking when you hear him cry out, “You’re screaming, and cursing, and angry, and hurting me, and then smiling, and crying, apologizing.”
Phantogram consists of Sarah Barthel on keyboards and Josh Carter on guitar. They put on an interesting set full of echo and ethereal vocals and noise. Sarah Barthel has a huge amount of energy, something you may not expect from the woman standing behind the keyboards, but she kept their set moving. I was most intrigued by how well choreographed their set was: behind Phantogram was a screen playing random images — think psychedelic screensaver, or iTunes visualizer or something – perfectly timed to their music. Maybe it was a coincidence, but it seemed to me as though the music and the images moved in sync.
Check out some of my photos from the show.