Since 2011, indie-folk band PHOX has gained traction through their appearances at SXSW and Lollapalooza, as well as their support tours with Paolo Nutini and The Head and the Heart. With only one LP under their belt, the band announced in October they will be taking a hiatus so band members could work on different projects. Before that, the band is taking on a short Goodbye (For Now) tour, which kicked off last night at 9:30 Club.
Opening for the band, was the six-piece Brooklyn- and Philadelphia-based band Cuddle Magic. The band took stage sporting a variety of jump suits, but aside from that, they didn’t attempt to wow the crowd with frill. Instead, they impressed with their incredible talent, cultivating a sound that made it seem as if their instruments had come alive to speak to each other. The band moved progressively from slow and intense to more upbeat songs toward the end of their set, even joining the crowd midway through.
Alec Spiegelman, bass clarinet, and Cole Kamen-Green, trumpet, gave me chills each time they came back into a song. The two later joined PHOX on stage for a few songs throughout their set, including “Leisure” and “Slow Motion.”
By the time PHOX got on stage to the intimate set up of area rugs, string lights and lamps, there was a noticeable shift in the mood of the crowd knowing that this, at least for now, would be the last time they saw the band all together. As they opened with “Calico Man,” it was a bitter-sweet beginning with lyrics like “I have to leave the city, but I’ll like to come again” resonating with the tone of the show.
When lead singer Monica Martin finally addressed the purpose of the tour, with the crowd booing, she shouted, “Matteo’s pregnant! You’re really gonna guilt him like this?”
That sort of lighthearted and comical aspect was felt each time they addressed the crowd, briefly becoming serious when Martin acknowledged what’s at stake in America, saying she could lose health insurance and asking the crowd to donate to Planned Parenthood.
Martin took time on stage to perform solo, playing “Tennessee,” a song from her project The Bad Marriage, as well as an unnamed song she recently wrote for her friend Sasha. Before performing the latter, she laughed at how corny the song was but how it served as a vessel for Sasha to express her feelings to her boyfriend.
After the rest of PHOX rejoined Martin on the stage, they played a few more of their own songs and bits and pieces of covers, some planned, others unplanned, including what Martin referred to as the only verse of “Say it Ain’t So,” by Weezer, before closing it out with “Noble Heart.”
As far as farewells go, this concert was a pretty emotional one, but it also left me pretty excited to see where these incredibly talented musicians go.
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of PHOX on Facebook.
Cassie Osvatics is a senior English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.