CMJ 2010: Phoenix | Madison Square Garden
French indie rockers Phoenix had been underground favorites for nearly a decade, with mainstream U.S. success eludeding them—despite an increasingly poppy, straightforward sound. Thanks to a smart relationship with Glassnote Records, a boutique label run by savvy industry veteran Daniel Glass, their Stateside moment finally arrived with the release of perennial Top 10 of 2009 pick "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"— and now they headlined a nearly sold out Madison Square Garden. How did that happen? To close, the Parisians brought along robot friends Daft Punk for a ridiculous collaboration ("Harder Better Faster Stronger"; "1901").
With fractured pop melding with heavy bass lines, opener Dirty Projectors (how did that happen?) made the best of their stadium turn. Earlier opener Wavves (how did that happen?) played a slim 30 min set of the band's polished psych-punk-meets-dream-pop—bringing some California heat to drafty MSG. It's tough being the first on in the big room. MORE PHOTOS