First the Susquehanna Bank Center, then Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and finally the World Cafe Live: French rockers Phoenix have been bussing up and down the New Jersey Turnpike this week in support of their new album Bankrupt!
If it was Wednesday, Thomas Mars and crew must have been at the WCL for WXPN's Non-Commvention confab of radio muckety mucks. Sandwiched between an acoustic Kurt Vile upstairs that didn't work so well due to conversational cacophony and a closing set by rumbling Link Wray-style Portland retro rockers Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside, Phoenix was the stellar attraction on an action packed evening, that also included sturm and drang folkie John Murry, bluegrass celebs Steve Martin & Edie Brickell with the Steep Canyon Rangers and pleasantly poppy 1980s funksters The Tom Tom Club.
It was a kick to see Coachella sized headliners like the fashionable Versailles quartet, who recorded a session with World Cafe host David Dye before performing, in such relatively cosy environs. And though Bankrupt! has its sluggish moments, the band's Wednesday night was a 45 minute energy bar of synth and guitar powered power-pop.
"Trying To Be Cool," one of two songs included in the clip below from the band's performance on Fallon this week, was one of the highlights of the evening, but the four Frenchmen of Phoenix who look like they might have just walked out of a Truffaut film (or one made by Mars' wife, Bling Ring director Sofia Coppola) don't have to spend a lot of time trying to be cool.
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell with the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Tom Tom Club.