Phoenix At The Wiltern

Why was everybody there?

I e-mailed Stacey to park beneath the building and she said:

"I’m glad you already have tickets, because this show is totally sold out."


Daniel Glass told me it was a tight ticket, but he owns the label.  What was bringing 2,000 plus people out on a Sunday night?

Was it SNL?

Sure, that was a plum gig in the last century, but TV can’t break a band today (other than the Disney Channel, but the Jonas Brothers are already fading, yet it’s still a viable outlet for girl singers).  And so many of the people on that Saturday late night show can’t sell a ticket.  It’s the epitome of hype.  Hey, look at me!  My label squeezed somebody powerful and now I’ve got a moment of fame before I go back to my day job!

But supposedly it was different with Phoenix, SNL chased them.


It’s not like they’ve got a ubiquitous radio hit.

It’s not like they’ve been the beneficiaries of saturation ink.

They haven’t been jammed down our throats.  How can they be so successful?

Could it be that they’re real?  That they don’t dance, don’t rely on backup tapes?

Could it be that in a beat-driven commercial world they’re a great alternative?

Could it be that after four albums, enough people know about them?

Or, could it be that after four albums they’re finally that good?

The word is definitely out.

And those in attendance were not checking the band out.  They were singing along.  They knew the music.

There was a pulse.  That was absent from SNL.  You see the sterility of a television studio robs rock of its essence, its sweaty all in it together vibe.  But live!

Phoenix kept the energy high.  Didn’t do anything downtempo for forty minutes, and that number was not a dirge.  They didn’t speak, didn’t break up the music with patter. They let the sound speak for them.  Along with the lights!

You’d think we were in the seventies.  Or maybe the sixties.  When only insiders knew, but there were a ton of insiders, all primed for the gig, not giving a shit that the mainstream isn’t clued in.

I asked each person I came in contact with.  Why was everybody there?

No one came up with a magic bullet.

I’m not sure that Phoenix is the next superstar act, but they’re a bright light, a harbinger for the future.  Bottom line, if you make good music, people find out!  You can’t market via social media that which isn’t good, that which people don’t want.  But if you’ve got a touch of quality, word spreads like wildfire!

Lefsetz: At the Phoenix show at the Wiltern. You’d think it’s 1977. What a vibe!.

tarheel_blue: @jazifer maybe missed another good one. RT @Lefsetz: At the Phoenix show at the Wiltern. You’d think it’s 1977. What a vibe!.

brocofly: @Lefsetz this show rocks!!!

Lefsetz: What is your theory why this Phoenix show at the Wiltern is sold out? (And they’re rocking by the way, very high energy.)

marramark: @Lefsetz because the album is amazing and the word of mouth for their shows has been akin to "religious experience".

KardiacKeith: @Lefsetz The live show, amount of albums released, buzz in the industry right now, good opportunities and showings at festivals makes fans.

jrguip: @Lefsetz Phoenix is one of the best live bands around, their drummer is incredible.

ajohnson161: At Phoenix show… Sound great… At the soundboard… Met Lefsetz…

juepucta: @Lefsetz what do you mean why? because their good and word spreads (this is their 4th album)!

juepucta: @Lefsetz all sorts of other crap "certain people" see "the future of music" in sell out too, these guys just are good on top of that 😉

tigerpop: @Lefsetz Great album, HUGE word of mouth. Old school. (SNL didn’t hurt either.)

jrguip: @Lefsetz Phoenix also has crafted two consecutively great releases of raw pop music with an intellectual bent.

vonmarxen: @Lefsetz they’ve been doing the same thing for 20 years. People are just now catching on!

ChicoSousa: @Lefsetz theory behind the sold out show? I think the SNL performance this year blew people away & left us all anticipating the album & tour

dashgo: @Lefsetz because people love Phoenix. They work hard and write great music.

mwjoffe: Great 1 line review…. RT @Lefsetz: At the Phoenix show at the Wiltern. You’d think it’s 1977. What a vibe!.

Lefsetz: An amazing drummer makes a huge difference.

markdienger: @Lefsetz Phoenix always sells out the wiltern they are coming back to la in the fall at the Greek

theseams: @Lefsetz people love them because they they are the real deal. And yes, a sick drummer can’t hurt

mrmattdecker: @Lefsetz truth be told!

lisamaxwell: Absolutely, does it ever! RT @Lefsetz An amazing drummer makes a huge difference.

drubin14: @Lefsetz they r a buzz band -like Vampire Weekend – who actually doesn’t suck . They’ve managed to steamroll a movement and back it up.

amberdino: @Lefsetz can’t figure out how phoenix got popular. Have had a solid following for a few years and somehow new cd got hype. Good show!!

mary_cg: @Lefsetz They’re a ’70s-sounding band. Remind me of Brian Eno, Talking Heads, & others from that era. New wave w/a touch of prog rock.

ethank: @Lefsetz because they are fun. Never underestimate the power of just pure fun at a show.

DukesofWindsor: @Lefsetz – he is a GREAT drummer!

tangoalphatango: @Lefsetz Phoenix rules, and no one talks about them,which is a travesty.

Phil_Herring: @Lefsetz A dancy, hyped band from Europe will usually sell out venues in L.A.

wesleyverhoeve: @Lefsetz Phoenix has been selling out NYC for a few years. Word of mouth + SNL. And YES! how good is that drummer, and he’s a sub

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