Bob Lefsetz // Phoenix @ The Wiltern – Los Angeles

Bob Lefsetz // Phoenix @ The Wiltern   Los Angeles

[Via – Bob Lefsetz – Lefsetz Letter, June 29th]

“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!” Subscribe to Lefsetz Letter.

Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (iTunes)
Phoenix – It's Never Been Like That (iTunes)

MP3: Phoenix – Lasso
MP3: Phoenix – Long Distance Call (Sebastien Tellier Remix)


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