Music

Phoenix orders up a night of euphoric rock

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Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars performs Jan. 28 at The Joint at the Hard Rock.
Erik Kabik/ Retna/ erikkabik.com

Many a singer has turned to their fans to fill in the blanks live when their voices simply aren't up to the task of carrying their own tune. But when Phoenix's Thomas Mars asked for help on the vocals at the tail end of the French rock band's show Thursday at the Joint, it hardly seemed like he needed the help.

"My voice is totally blown, so if you don't mind to sing," Mars called out to the crowd towards the end of the show, one of the few things he said during the concert.

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However, Mars and his bandmates needed no help at all to deliver their euphoric pop rock to the young crowd dancing on the Joint's ground level. Phoenix sounded almost effortlessly in sync throughout their first Vegas headlining performance, and Mars' vocals were pitch perfect with just the same slight whine as on the band's most recent release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

After kicking off with the quirkily titled "Lisztomania" — yes, that's Liszt as in Franz Liszt, the Hungarian composer and piano prodigy — Phoenix's set rifled through a number of tracks off their current album, punctuated by older songs.

While most of the audience seemed to be rather recent additions to the Versailles-born rockers' fanbase, as evidenced by the near total non-reaction to a few tunes off older albums, one concert highlight came during the encore when Mars performed a stripped-down version of "Everything is Everything" off 2004 disc Alphabetical.

Without the jaunty vibrancy of the rest of the show, the number took on an almost solemn character. For a moment, it seemed a different band altogether was playing.

But before the crowd could settle too deep into their contemplative stances, Phoenix was back, closing the show with the Cadillac ad hit that has gained them a sudden U.S. following. To the sounds of "1901," the Joint took on the feeling of a joyous dance party. And as the band welcomed fans on stage for a few chaotic final minutes, everyone was invited.

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