You Don’t Get Me High – Phantogram & The Range


Review and Photography by Megan T.

To honor their paired tour, The Range has remixed Phantogram’s track, “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”. While some call it a “brisk dance floor mover”, I just call it into question (DeVille for Stereogum). The fascination I have with live music lies in the discrepancy between real and recorded. What may sound pulsating and tempered through the published version becomes distorted and painful in public. The Range published a set with oppressive bass, distorted vocals like a phone call with bad reception, and, to his credit, some smooth transitions between songs. You see this man on stage, five feather flag, car-wash style banners spelling Range behind him. You see his arms moving like they’re marionettes to the beat. Only thing is that all I can hear are my teeth vibrating and the dichotomous presence of chirps and bass. For the finale, he literally let an awkward note hang in the air then flipped off his mix board and walked off stage. No fade out. No lingering, twinkling sounds; just done.



So how did he end up touring with the emo electric stars of Phantogram? Well, he has a creative edge, especially in his approach to his album ‘Potential’. You see, it is built from unheard vocals on minimally viewed YouTube videos. Allured by the existential ideas of self-presentation and publicizing pieces of oneself without much reception, James Hilton says “they’re powerful when you consider the context.” An apt parallel to Hilton’s own art imitating life imitating art.  But who am I to judge? It drew quite the crowd.



Sure, the guys in white leather jackets sipped cocktails with the girls showcasing bedazzled crop tops. And yes, there were the long beards on both old and fresh hipster faces. Granted, pairs of non-binary and smitten people scattered the floor. But during his set, they all buzzed with small talk and jokes. Maybe the context just didn’t come across. It all subdued when Phantogram blossomed into the night, hidden at first by a play of light in the foreground that bounced us through a galaxy of white geometry. They brought a great range of emotion from sorrow with ‘Answer’ to humor when they explained that song was actually about Google. There were classics like ‘Howling at the Moon’ and ‘Black Out Days’ along with newer hits like ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’. I like the way Danilo Bortoli put it when he said “their music has always resembled much of the sounds evoked by the post-punk revival earlier in the aughts in its poppier form. Drawing heavily on dream pop, electronica and trip-hop, all in equal measure, albums like 2010’s Eyelid Movies and 2014’s Voices come off well-rounded and calculated experiments between those two worlds.”




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