Phoenix may be in the middle of a massive world tour, and just a couple days away from playing Coachella, but when SPIN has a birthday to celebrate, it’s time for the band to head to New York.
Thursday night, the French quartet stopped by SPIN’s Lower Manhattan headquarters to play a rooftop set in celebration of the magazine’s 25th anniversary issue — an event sponsored by Fujifilm, AriZona, and Corona. Watch the video >>
In front of some 150 fan-contest winners and friends of the magazine, the band ran through an acoustic set from last year’s Grammy-winning album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix — which landed at No. 3 on SPIN’s 40 Best Albums of 2009 list.
As Phoenix took the stage — which was four barstools step up in a corner of the tarpaper roof — a light rain started. And before the first song had ended — a loose, lively “Lisztomania” — it turned into a cool downpour.
Thomas Mars barely seemed to notice. The Phoenix frontman looked, as he often does, like he had just woken up to find himself in front of hundreds of adoring fans in some strange city playing music he wasn’t quite sure anyone was going to like. Which is to say he looked cool — and sang beautifully.
And despite the rain, his band — two acoustic guitars and a keyboard — was able to recreate the punch and polish of Phoenix’s riff-heavy pop.
During the first chords of “Rome,” one concerned fan headed toward the stage with an umbrella to hold over the head of keyboardist Deck d’Arcy; then another showed up with one for guitarist Christian Mazzalai; and finally, Mars and guitarist Laurent Brancowitz got their own personal protectors. It was a charming moment that drew hoots from the crowd and grateful smiles from the band.
When “1901” rolled around, the audience was chanting along to its refrain: “Hey, Hey, Hey!”
And when Mars finally got off his stool and gave a shy little bow, ending Phoenix’s set, the rain began to slow.
Within five minutes, as the band members mixed with their fans on the rooftop, it stopped, giving way to a perfect starry spring night in New York City.