Phoenix Plays the Garden

October 15th, 2010

Three guys, Thomas Mars (vocals), Deck d’Arcy (bass) and Chris Mazzalai (guitar), began playing garage rock in a suburban basement in the ’90s. It’s a familiar story you’ve heard from countless other bands. The main difference in this case is that the group began outside of Paris rather than, say, Detroit or Milwaukee. Around that same time, Mazzalai’s older brother, Laurent Brancowitz (also a guitarist), was in another trio, Darlin’. That band released several songs, which Melody Maker described as “a bunch of daft punk.” Not too much later Brancowitz’s bandmates split to form Daft Punk and he joined his brother’s musical outfit, Phoenix. The now quartet got started covering Hank Williams and Prince in French bars, but they kept working their way up and people began to notice. They added synthesizers to the mix and put out several well-received albums, but it was their fourth studio effort, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, that put them in the mainstream. Since then Phoenix (above, performing “1901” on Late Show with David Letterman) has sold out increasingly larger rooms, and now they’re playing the big one, Madison Square Garden next Wednesday. Not only should you be at this show, but make sure to get there early enough to see Dirty Projectors and Wavves, too.