Phantogram Sells Out the Palace Theatre


Phantogram – the New York duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel— has continued to change the zeitgeist for almost a decade by consistently challenging it with their signature blend of hard-hitting beats, guitar-driven dark psychedelia, and electronic pop. They are celebrating their recently released singles, “Mister Impossible” and “Into Happiness”, written in their studio in Laurel Canyon and Joshua Tree. Fans are anticipating the release of their next album while Phantogram continues their summer 2019 North American Tour.

Phantogram returned to the Twin Cities, Sunday night 8/25, at the Palace Theater in Saint Paul. Fans anticipated what kind of show experience Phantogram would give, some fans were Phantogram virgins this being their first show, and others their third or fourth time being a Phantogram mecca. Sarah Barthel shared they were eager to return, and excited to announce that Phantogram was honored with a star on First Avenue.

Bob Moses band opened the evening. A Canadian electronic duo from British Colombia, consisting of Tom Howie, and Jimmy Vallance. They are known for their remix of their song “Tearing Me Up”, by RAC, and have received a Grammy. They riled up the audience and performed “Breathe” (The Prodigy Cover) and was really well received.  

Phantogram opened the set with “News Today” but behind a see-through curtain boxed around the band. The second song the crowd went wild when Josh and Sarah came from behind the curtain and played “Black Out Days”. I thought I was the only one wanting my hair bleached blond and cut like Sarah’s, perfect for head banging. But heard from fans behind me that “tomorrow everyone in Minnesota is going to be getting their hair cut like Sarah.” Josh shared before singing “You Are the Ocean” that the last time he sang this was at First Ave’s 7th Street Entry.

The stage lighting, effects, and Sarah and Josh’s choreography was creative, weird, and simply brilliant. There were times it felt like the audience was witnessing a live futuristic James Bond movie theme song. The professionalism of the stage set up, lights and special effects balanced the performance and music perfectly.

Sarah’s outfit should also be noted, wearing white vintage boots with shiny silver shorts and fishnets, and silver fringed jacket, moving beautifully as she danced.

Before closing the night with a powerful encore, Sarah shared a personal note promoting suicide prevention, and that she lost her sister three years ago and is still difficult to talk publicly. But after being in tears gave an emotional performance standing on high structure, and slowly raising her hands with two circular half disco balls sharing the light with audience members. The crowd yelled their support sharing things like “we love you Sarah”. The crowd went wild with the last songs like “Answer”, “When I’m Small” and “News”. I know fans, and myself included will be anticipating any other future new Phantogram releases.