Phantogram and Bob Moses prove visuals are just as important as their music.

Columbus, OH, was unexpectedly calm on such a nice summer’s day. A small breeze blew through the city streets, the sun still hung in the sky, and after walking several blocks to the venue, I’d rarely noticed anyone on the clean streets. Everything about the city made me feel like I was in a warm dream while I made my way to Express LIVE. A decent gathering was already inside, and I watched the crowd grow by the minute as we all anticipated Phantogram & Bob Moses. Large mirrors mounted to the ceiling were angled towards the stage, and a translucent curtain cut the stage in half. The anticipation continued.

Bob Moses didn’t necessarily have the visuals to blow us away, but nonetheless, their performance was outstanding. The four young men (two band members, plus touring musicians) on stage performed with strong youthful energy and potent relevance to the dancing crowd. The band members themselves were dancing their own ways throughout the set. Even though the pair seesawed between songs with an alternative influence and with heavy electronic influence, neither stopped moving to the beat. I found it especially interesting to watch how much the lead vocalist altered his pedals during specific songs for artistic effects I’d never heard nor seen before. I soon made my way to the balcony and moved my focus towards the jam-packed crowd at Express LIVE, where people’s faces stayed as bright as the stage lights throughout the entirety of their performance.

Soon after the venue went completely black, Sarah Barthel’s voice softly echoed through the air. Suspense continued to grow for roughly a minute up until a lightning-like strobe reflected off the hoisted mirrors, illuminating each member of Phantogram standing behind the hazy curtain. Sarah and Josh eventually made their way to the front for “Run Run Blood,” and neither of the two stopped moving around the stage until the awaited introduction of “Mouthful of Diamonds.” It wasn’t hard to tell Sarah put everything into her performance especially when performing “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” hitting every desired pitch and displaying a clear sense of emotion through movement.

One thing I’d always heard about Phantogram’s live performance was a sincere touch Sarah added to their live shows. Sarah stopped the show right before their encore to talk about her sister’s tragic passing only a few years ago, admitting she was readjusting to speaking about the incident at shows. Sarah’s speech to the crowd received praise louder than any previous roar from that night, which was then followed by a emotional performance dedicated to her sister.

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