Phantogram and Wild Ones at the Crystal Ballroom

Vortex Music Magazine

The 2014 edition of December to Remember will finish off strong with a bout of darkly danceable electronic shoegaze brightened up by some PDX pop. Photos by Autumn Andel

Sarah Barthel of Phantogram at MFNW 2014—click to see a whole gallery of MFNW photos by Autumn AndelSarah Barthel of Phantogram at MFNW 2014—click to see a whole gallery of MFNW photos by Autumn Andel

There’s something to be said about a band’s stage presence—especially if the band is Phantogram, the Greenwich, N.Y., duo that called themselves Charlie Everywhere back when they formed in 2007.

Sarah Barthel is Phantogram’s unintentionally charismatic show-stopper who makes hair-tossing-while-vocally-emoting seem like a glamorous art form with just the right amount of grit. She’s entirely in her element onstage belting out known hits like “Fall In Love” (below) and “Mouthful of Diamonds,” or lesser known ones like “Celebrating Nothing.” The authenticity is stunning.

So too are her vocals and lyrical style. In a bittersweet voice full of determination and ache, Barthel describes relationships turned awful, liars that lie so beautifully, loneliness that chills the bone, strength that only a woman knows, and loyalties that skirt death and tear at the mind. There’s an emboldening sophistication about her, which is shared by her counterpart, Josh Carter. He’s responsible for that meandering, eclectic lead guitar that makes Phantogram so trancelike. And though he may not physically let loose as intensely as Barthel does onstage, his riffs evoke a feel-good vibe that’s hard to resist.

Josh Carter of Phantogram at MFNW 2014Josh Carter of Phantogram at MFNW 2014

Catch the pair on the final night of 94.7 FM KNRK's December to RememberWednesday, December 17—at the Crystal Ballroom with local openers Wild Ones providing a superb dose of body-warming pop to start the show.

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