The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

Phantogram delivers a Halloween spectacle


Despite Halloween falling on a Monday this year, the citizens of Nashville were not discouraged from throwing on a costume and celebrating. What better place to party, then, than Marathon Music Works?

On Monday, hundreds of fans piled into Marathon to see the electronic pop/rock duo Phantogram. Costumes ranged from your typical zombies to Popeye to the Hulk to one particularly scary bunny, with the performers all clad in skeleton costumes and corpse paint.

The night began with electronic music artist The Range, who brought a blend of hip-hop and various styles of electronic music typically referred to as Baltimore club music. His music, a blend of stuttering hi-hats, slow looped samples, deep pulsing bass, and sputtering breakbeats, had the early arrivers swaying and grooving and cheering for more.

Once the crowd was sufficiently hyped, a thin black screen descended in front of the stage as the crew finished setting up for Phantogram. As the band began to play, lights began to project the members’ shadows onto the screen. Psychedelic morphing shapes began to project onto the screen as the band’s powerful drums, blaring synths, and effect-washed guitars blasted out of the speakers. After the first song, a video feed of singer Sarah Barthel’s face appeared on the screen in black and white as she sang their 2013 single “Black Out Days”.

After a few songs the screen fell away and the band burst into one of their more lively tracks-“You’re Mine”- off of their 2016 album Three. At that moment the concert became much more intense, transitioning from waves of synths and guitars and soaring climaxes of noise to raw, aggressive rock. The crowd responded accordingly, breaking into a frenzy of jumping bodies and waving limbs. Phantogram followed this up with one of their bigger singles from the album, “Same Old Blues”, which showcased a beautiful gospel chorus sample and some stellar guitar work from Josh Carter.

At this point the band finally began interacting with the crowd, as Barthel complimented the crowd on their costumes and asked if her white contacts were scary enough. The band then slowed it down with some of their older, more ballad-like tracks such as “Bad Dreams” and “Howling at the Moon”. During “Destroyer”, Barthel disappeared backstage while the band played the intro the next song. When she reappeared, she was clad in a long black cape, and while she stood atop a pedestal during the song, smoke rose out of the back of her cape, all set against a huge backdrop of flames. Her voice ranged from a hoarse whisper to fierce wails, making for an absolutely stunning display for what would’ve been their second to last song.

Not long after finishing, the crowd’s cheers drew the band back on stage, with the screen once again hoisted in front of the stage, this time projecting grainy home movies of the band for the introspective “Barking Dog”. To close out the night, the band ended with the visceral track “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”, their highest charting single to date, making for a powerful end to a dazzling Halloween night.

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About the Contributor
Dallas Shatel, Former Deputy Editor in Chief
Dallas Shatel (’19) was the Deputy Editor in Chief of The Vanderbilt Hustler. He previously served as a writer for the Arts and Culture Section. He majored in electrical engineering. He is a bass player and an obsessive music fan.

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