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Phoenix Descend on Madison Square Garden

Wednesday 10.20
Phoenix @ Madison Square Garden
4 Penn Plaza. 8 p.m. $29.50-$49.50. 212-707-3131.
with Dirty Projectors and Wavves

Question 1: Do you have a pulse? Question 2: Do you listen to the radio or watch TV? If you answered “Yes,” there is no way in hell you haven’t heard something by Phoenix. Probably their two singles, “Lisztomania” and “1901,” which, even if you live in a cave, have been inescapable since last year’s landmark album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. So it’s without question Phoenix’s discography is on the short list for things to have on a desert island, but seeing the band live is, somehow, even better. Maybe it’s the LED light show, maybe it’s lead singer Thomas Mars’ voice in a live setting, maybe it’s the way the entire group flawlessly rifles through its set list, adding to and stretching songs here and there, that it strikes this great balance between carefully rehearsed and loosely unhinged. They were easily the best thing on Saturday Night Live all last season and there’s a video of them online, walking around Paris, playing acoustic to random people. But a chance to see the band at MSG as part of the CMJ Music Marathon? If you don’t say “Yes” now, you’ll without a doubt be saying “No! No!” later.


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