With the one-two punch that was “Lisztomania” and “1901,” the first two tracks off of Phoenix’s 2009 LP Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix turned them from a band that was well-respected in music geek circles into an international phenomenon. Released in May of that year, the band spent the next two years on the road, winning fans over with their propulsive live sets that doubled as all-out dance parties. The band has been quiet for the last two years or so, as they’ve been primarily holed up in the studio making Bankrupt! (out on April 23), but they’re starting to take their new material on the road. Last night, they were the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, and next weekend, they’ll be headlining Coachella.
“We like to play Coachella because its kind of the Olympic games of music,” guitarist Laurent Brancowitz told us when VH1 Tuner sat down with them recently. “So we prepare for four years and we try to win a gold medal (laughs).”
It turns out that the Olympic metaphor is apt, as the band has a semi-tumultuous history at the festival, which they have played twice previously (in 2006 and 2010). “We did our best show and our worst show [at Coachella],” guitarist Christian Mazzalai confessed. “So what we like about it is it’s not medium. It’s extreme. It can be extremely good, or extremely catastrophic.”
With anticipation levels for the upcoming release of Bankrupt! at a fever pitch, and adding up all the goodwill that the band has engendered in the post-Wolfgang landscape, we have a sneaking suspicion that next Saturday night’s headlining performance by the band will end up on the “extremely good” side for them.