Friday March 21st 2008, 4:04 am
In Living Color: Phosphorescent at the Echo
Filed under: In Living Color | Posted by:

I saw Phosphorescent and Bon Iver last night at the Echo. While I had previously seen Bon Iver live, Phosphorescent was a complete mystery to me. Phosphorescent is actually a one man band (like Bon Iver) consisting of Matthew Houck, whose album, Pride, had been one of my favorites records of 2007. But how well could he translate that full, harmony-ladden and heavy sound to a live show?

Answer: invite some of the most engaging backup musicians that I have seen in a very long time to join you on tour. Seriously, when was the last time that you couldn’t keep your eyes off of the the keyboardist or bass player (no offense to you musicians out there. I do love all of the instruments equally)? The keyboardist reminded me of Linus from the Peanuts with his crazed, yet studied approach to the keys. The bassist grooved all around the stage, barely keeping still long enough for me to snap a picture of him without it being completely blurred out. And let’s not forget the drummer, who actually played most of the set with his eyes closed.

And then, we have Matthew, aka Phosphorescent himself, with his beautiful, cracked voice. To deal with the issue of the many-layered harmonies on the record (the other musicians would occasionally lend some backup vocals, but not enough to mirror the recordings), he used a little gadget that let him sing with himself! Twice in the show, he sang a line and then would resing it and resing it until eventually, there were about 20 Matthew’s singing different parts. It was pretty incredible to hear.



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