If the line snaking back to Union Pool's infamous taco truck was any indication, Brooklyn-natives Phosphorescent have affectionately outgrown the confines of their hometown. Playing a sold-out show, the sextet seamlessly churned out over an hour's worth of tunes new and old to a room of sometimes screaming, often drunk, always adoring fans.
It was clear from the moment the band shouldered through the audience and climbed on the stage that this would be an intimate affair. But when a groupie-type enthusiast shouted for "Joe Tex, These Taming Blues" and Matthew Houck agreed to oblige &mdash later &mdash the well-worn dive bar suddenly felt like a neighborhood pub. By the time they rolled out "The Mermaid Parade" the lot of the house was singing along nostalgically as though thinking back to some good ol' days that no one could actually remember. Houck later treated the crowd to a solo set before bringing the boys back on stage for an extended encore and by the time it was over, there was the strange sense that for an hour and a half, we'd all been pretty good friends.
The unequivocal highlight of the set, though, was the new tune, "Los Angeles". Without straying too far from that Willie-Nelson-country Phosphorescent keeps layered beneath all of those subtle indie-rock effects, "Los Angeles" gradually ascended from the easy-going slide of the pedal steel, climbing through the crescendo of instrumental layers and distortion until at last it soared above the spellbound audience, only to return, finally trickling down to a lull reminiscent of where it all began. While most of the tunes that night were notably more epic than the recorded versions, few were quite as lush, and none were so likely to prefer the reverb to the refrain. Whether a glimpse of Phosphorescent's future or not, none can say, but it remains clear that the next time these guys come to Brooklyn, they're going to need a bigger bar.-josh cacopardo
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