By Chris Riemenschneider
French dance-pop charmers Phoenix -- they of "Lisztomania" and "1901" fame (and not to mention, singer Thomas Mars' long relationship with Sofia Coppola) -- got up early to play a five-song acoustic set and meet with 200 fans at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis today, just after noon.
"This is kind of the middle of the night for us," Mars quipped to the crowd after opening with "Lisztomania." From there, they played (in order) "Long Distance Call," "One Time Too Many," the Air collaboration "Playground Love" and "1901." The guitars were all acoustic, the keyboard sounded toy-like, and the latter three tunes were accompanied by a wee little drum machine, which Mars said "is sort of how we write songs." It was a quick, wistful, light and just plum cute set, probably a sharp alternative to the electrifying set fans can expect tonight at First Ave (based on their previous, sweat-soaked show at the Varsity in June, still one of my favorites of the year).
I heard some attendees waiting in line complaining they didn't have tickets for tonight (sold out) but were holding out for extras outside. Good luck. Mars couldn't have sounded more enthusiastic about the show: "We've been waiting to play First Avenue our entire lives," he said. Aw, those French are smooth talkers, aren't they?
Also, for those who do have tickets, tonight's opener is Chairlift, a Brooklyn synth-pop trio who will be a quartet on tour this fall with the addition of the Animal Collective collaborator John Maus on keyboards. They've already toured with Peter, Bjorn & John and Yacht this year.