A Phosphorescent concert is an experience one does not forget. Due to the fact that there were many people in the crowd who could be a college aged concertgoer’s parents (or even grandparents), one could be hesitant into enter, but that did not faze anyone from entering this unforgettable experience. After a rousing, energetic performance from the opener, Caveman, Phosphorescent began their set to a packed room, Before the band took stage, the opening notes of “Sun Arise! (An Invocation, An Introduction)” vibrated through the audience. The crowd quieted, waiting in anticipation, which is something that rarely seems to happen at The Firebird, though it occurred frequently throughout Phosphorescent’s set as the crowd was drawn in by the group’s music.
The band played old and new tracks, and was a welcome introduction to Phosphorescent’s older work. From the band’s current sound of alternative/indie/experimental folk sound to its country roots, the music the poured forth from Houck and his fellow musicians. The selection did not fail to enchant everyone in the room. There were seemingly three highs throughout from “The Phosphorescent Experience”, the first being “Song for Zula”. Anyone can say that of course it was a highlight of the show because it was the hit single from the album Muchacho. However, the experience of being surrounded by people who are so enthralled in a song’s feelings, messiness and brokenness of life that it conveys is moving. It is an extremely powerful moment and song.
The second and third high points were when Houck took the stage by himself. He did a beautiful rendition of “My Dove, My Lamb” that once again quieted the room, despite its abnormally long length. The gentle tones that Houck manages to produce out of his electric guitar, paired with his unique, yearning voice offer a window in which one cannot help but reminisce on long-lost past loves.
At third and most chilling point of the set came as Houck closed with “Wolves”; it was truly the most haunting and surreal moment of the entire experience. The beginning of the song drew in the crowd in a similar fashion as it did with “My Dove, My Lamb”, but that’s when real, crowning, gut wrenching, breath stuttering moment began. Roughly five minutes into the track, he began to layer and add a depth to a song that has not been seen for a long time. He manages to transport you from a crowd filled room to a lonely, godforsaken place, where the only things surrounding you are your nightmares and deepest secrets. There is no other way to adequately describe how the song moves one emotionally.
Houck and company manage to transform a crowd and play like no other band can in this setting. They connect to the crowd on the deepest level of human emotion. It was one of the most surreal and haunting experiences that that can happen at a show.