T in the Park review: Phoenix, King Tut’s tent

Gallic pop veterans Phoenix played to a small crowd, but their syrupy performance left a sweet taste. Picture: David P Scott

Gallic pop veterans Phoenix played to a small crowd, but their syrupy performance left a sweet taste. Picture: David P Scott

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IF festival crowds were a gargantuan cake, then Gallic pop veterans Phoenix play only to a minuscule slice carved out for their T in the Park Friday night slot.

Their April headline slot at America’s monolith Coachella may have been a ten-tiered wedding cake layered in sunshine, syrupy synths and a cameo appearance from R. Kelly, but their second visit to the fields of Balado was a sweet marriage of two out of the three aforementioned facets (Kelly wasn’t present in the King Tuts Tent).

There may have been disappointment at the Californian festival because of a Daft-Punk no-show (Two of Phoenix used to be teenage band members of helmet-adorning duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo) but it is clear tonight’s set is Phoenix’s to own entirely.

Backstage before the show, guitarist Laurent Brancowitz spoke of how self-governing and guarded the band are of their own output, even down to “meticulously designing our own light show”.

Bold, striking colours, mountain peaks and historic Parisian buildings provide the perfect landscape during the performance, as Phoenix eat their way through a flavourful set sprinkled with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’s trio of Lizstomania, Rome and Love Like A Sunset, as well as a couple of toppings from album Bankrupt and big hit 1901.

Phoenix are unquestionably more complex than their sweet-tasting sound suggests, and are quite fittingly reminiscent of their rolling spectrum backdrop; playful and colourful, yet considerably ornate.

The cynics may bemoan the gloomy setting while the sun roared outside, or the absence of friends Daft Punk, but then you can’t have your cake and eat it, can you?

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