Phoenix: Ups and Downs

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Aidin Vaziri | How do you top a year in which your band has already headlined the Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden and Coachella? For the members of Phoenix, all signs point to Outside Lands. The quartet from Versailles, France, sneaked in a show at the tiny Independent just before the release of its fifth and latest album, “Bankrupt,” but this week we get to witness the full spectacle – complete with front man Thomas Mars’ signature stage move: lying down in the middle of the set. The singer talked to us about his festival experiences.

Q: Are festivals fun for you?

A: They can be. We’ve had very different experiences at festivals. Some of them you can tell it’s people who thought, “How can we trap 30,000 kids and sell them as much beer as possible?” Other festivals are about music. I’m excited for Outside Lands. That’s one of the good ones.

Q: You had a few issues the first time you played Coachella – I remember something about a fire breaking out onstage.

A: That was very frustrating. It was a one-off show for us, and our keyboard player did that trip and nothing worked for him. He flew from France and back without playing a single note. We were sharing his frustration – all of this for nothing. I’m glad we got to play it again, and even a third time.

Q: I like that you’re the only lead singer who can lie down onstage in the middle of your set for something like 10 minutes.

A: I have no choice. I’m not James Brown. I can’t pull it off that way. I have to figure out other ways to deal with those moments. Sometimes when you really don’t have a choice, you find ways that are unique. I really like this moment because I feel like I get to watch my friends. You lose a sense of time when you play, and that’s a moment you can be with the crowd and really appreciate the moment.

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