Phantogram/the Antlers – Mercury Lounge – April 2, 2009April 3rd, 2009
Last night at Mercury Lounge, the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., duo, Phantogram (formerly known as Charlie Everywhere) opened as the first of four bands. Onstage, it’s just friends-since-high-school Sara Barthel on synthesizer, Josh Carter on guitar, and a Mac laptop—kind of like a latter-day two turntables and a microphone.
The band’s name fits them to a T because a phantogram is a two-dimensional image that’s distorted so it appears to viewers in 3D. And with the twosome’s engaging light show behind their urban-beats-and-psychedelic-melodies soundscape, they appear and sound much larger than they really are. Although some songs have a heavier, industrial sound, Josh and Sara seem destined to become the king and queen of good-times late-night dance parties.
The Antlers, the third band to perform last night, are a trio—guitar, drums and keys—and without the thump, thump, thump of a bass, their set began with a quiet, slow-building sound that progressively opened up, becoming almost dreamy as they continued. Singer-songwriter Peter Silberman’s voice is, well, lovely, even when singing about “getting fucked and unfucked.” And on the band’s final song, “Cold War,” his vocals were like something out of Jeff Buckley’s far-reaching upper register. And then their sweeping sound slowly dissipated until it was still, quiet, finished. —R. Zizmor