Friday, February 13, 2015

Phox - Field Report -- 9:30 Club - Feb 12 2015

Field Report - An all-Wisconsin bill tonight, reported by someone whose roots extend deep into that state. This trio is from Milwaukee and feature a rather light approach with a classic singer songwriter style. They really did well when they worked in an intricate drone reminiscent of the lighter side of the Velvet Underground into some of these songs. I would have liked just a bit more tempo or volume shifts to really underscore these fine songs (I am sure they watch what the headliners do in this regard). Otherwise, it is a fine set of some very good songs that effectively warmed up the audience tonight. I look forward to bigger and brighter things from this outfit. And speaking of bigger and brighter things...
Phox - It is great to see a band I thoroughly enjoyed in an opening slot at the Black Cat in September 2013 rise to these heights so quickly. In between these shows, they have played at DAR Constitution Hall and twice at the Hamilton including a headlining slot. And despite the active touring schedule, they are working in some new material and some new approaches to their 'older' songs. Monica Martin is still the focal point with her exquisite vocals and presence. Yet it is the full band of Baraboo friends that works the full magic here. They employ some choppy rhythmic breaks and intricate melodic shifts that play off the silky vocals in an unusual but wholly natural way. At times it even reminds me of the Incredible String Band duo working with Sandy Denny and her Fotheringay rhythm section--whimsy offsetting beauty and strength. They pulled back to acoustic songs where they all played around a condenser mic before pushing it back up with a screaming fuzz guitar solo. Monica Martin does some solo cuts with ukulele at the end to take the diversity even further. Normally such extensive touring will either tighten a band up or possibly get them overexposed. For Phox, I think it is more of opening some new creative paths and getting them the further exposure that is taking them to great heights. I am happy to see it happen and hope to keep seeing it for a long time to come.

Quote of the Night - Monica Martin pretty much apologizes for talking too much every time through, and I'm not sure I agree as she tells a story about pants that she had told a few DC shows back that I remembered. So it all makes sense. But I was happy to see Jordan Dache take her up on her challenge for a carefully cropped photo including some of the PHOX lighting...

MM - "I hope that someone will take a photo when only the H and O lighting is on (with me in the middle)."

No comments: