Phantogram and Twin Shadow at Grand Central, December 2

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Toyota Antics Presents
With Phantogram, Twin Shadow, and Flosstradamus
Grand Central, Miami
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Better than: Paying a cover charge to see a bunch of bands during Art Basel.

We worried when Phantogram announced its second Miami show in as many months. Not because we're not fans of the two-piece (we are), but because we wondered how they'd live up to the hype of two-piece indie-pop electronic acts that have been passing through South Florida and making waves. Judging by the crowd alone, Thursday night wasn't just about the people watching.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by an old fashioned carnival style ambiance, equipped with girls propping big wooden trays with straps over their shoulders, filled with assorted candy.

Phantogram was the first band up, and didn't take to the stage until a little after midnight. They played hits like "Bloody Palms," "Mouthful of Diamonds," and ended it all with "When I'm Small," a song that seemed to almost blow the roof off of the venue, as we haven't seen show goers as hyped, dance-friendly, and age-appropriate since Caribou back in October.

The DJs between sets were equally arresting, playing everything from new wave to '80s, to indie pop. The crowd kept dancing 'til Twin Shadow came on.

While I'd admit we were fans of Twin Shadow frontman George Lewis Jr., backed by a full band on stage, some of the oomph was lost. He continued through the motions, telling us about how he used to live in Miami to warm up the crowd, but the set was a bit soured for us when he mentioned that he witnessed his mom get mugged at a gas station when he was a little kid back in 1989.

We felt bad for him, but as he pushed through his no wave-tinged indie pop, we almost felt a little worse. The sounds and his crowd interactions were there, but something was missing. The crowds dispersed and by the end of his set, there couldn't have been more than a few hundred people at the venue. Still not bad, but nothing compared to Phantogram -- a tough act to follow, who barely had to talk to the audience to keep us entertained.

Critic's Notebook:
Personal Bias: I love the sound and LED lighting at Grand Central. The cigarette smoke stench burned onto my clothes, skin, and hair? Not so much.
The Crowd: Very hip, trendy 20- and 30-somethings, hipsters, very few art collectors that seem to have lost their way, but didn't mind the change of pace.
Random Detail: There was a carnival theme throughout the evening, with candy, games, and free screen printed posters of the evening's festivities.

Phantogram Partial Setlist:
"As Far As I can See"
"Let Me Go"
"Bloody Palms"
"Mouthful of Diamonds"
"Running from the Cops"
"When I'm Small"

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