ACL Live Shot: Phoenix

Phoenix has come a l-o-n-g way since ACL 2009

Phoenix risen: Thomas Mars
Phoenix risen: Thomas Mars (by Gary Miller)

Four years ago, Thomas Mars’ face had the look of genuine disbelief as he surveyed the afternoon crowd at ACL Fest’s AMD stage. He gathered himself, jumped off of the platform, and sprinted through the barriers separating the crowds, peppering the audience with high fives. Mars remembers that day, too.

“We were here four years ago,” he announced midway through Phoenix’s Sunday set. “That was the first large crowd that we’d ever played to.”

Then, Mars launched himself into the crowd – just as he had done years before.

If you use set times as a litmus test for relevancy, the French pop-rockers have moved well beyond the sweat-box afternoon slots to overlapping with Thom Yorke and Flea. Despite Phoenix’s tripled star power since 2009, the band seems largely the same. It still takes the time to reward loyal fans, flipping far back into its catalog for songs like “If I Ever Feel Better” and “Run Run Run,” which predate 2009’s U.S. breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Its frontman still crowd surfs, high fives, and grins at his own fortune.

Phoenix has, however, added news songs to the repertoire. The band’s broken in Bankrupt! cuts “Entertainment” and “S.O.S. in Bel Air” since it swung through the Moody Theater in May, leaving them much more comfortable among well-worn hits, though true comfort wasn’t in short order. During the one-two punch of “Lasso” and “Lisztomania” it was easier to hear the crowd singing anything than Mars himself.

For more ACL Fest coverage, see For photo galleries from the fest, see

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More ACL Fest 2013
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
UPDATE: ACL acts including Mowglis make alternate plans

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 13, 2013

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
Robert Smith summons the rain

Doug Freeman, Oct. 13, 2013

More Phoenix
Phoenix ‘Live from the Artists Den’  – At Anderson High!
Phoenix ‘Live from the Artists Den’ – At Anderson High!
French rockers during ACL Fest 2013: ‘Find us a high school’

Abby Johnston, Nov. 22, 2013

Phoenix Keeps Austin Weird
Phoenix Keeps Austin Weird
French quartet wows ‘Austin City Limits’

Abby Johnston, May 8, 2013

More by Abby Johnston
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Best Live Music Performances of 2018
Best Live Music Performances of 2018
The bands and venues that kept our critics on their feet

Dec. 28, 2018


Phoenix, ACL Fest 2013, Thomas Mars

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle