LIVE REVIEW: Typhoon + Phox @ Harlow’s, Sacramento 3/4/14
One of the best things about going to a show to see a band that you’ve been dying to catch is getting to the venue early enough to get to know the opening bands. Now based in Madison, Wisconsin, Phox is comprised of seven friends who serendipitously formed a seven-piece band after years of seeing each other about in their small town of Baraboo. Phox excelled at making a striking first impression with their soulful folk-inspired songs that incorporated keyboards, guitars, a banjo, and sometimes even a trumpet.
Singer Monica Martin’s vocals possessed a quiet confidence similar in tone to Corinne Bailey Rae ranging from soft jazz-inspired vocals to folk songbird. It was apparent from the dynamic of the band that its members have developed an unbreakable rapport that exuded Phox’s friendly demeanor. Getting to know them was quite a pleasure. Phox’s first national album will release in late June, so keep an eye peeled for it.
One of the questions on everyone’s mind was “how are all the members of Typhoon going to fit on this tiny stage?” We heard quite a few people utter this question to themselves and others while waiting for the band to appear for their first show of their Spring tour.
All eleven members piled onto the stage and proved themselves to be masters of spatial organization. Drummer Pieter Hilton and Alex Fitch sat prominently at the front of the stage behind their kits in a rather unorthodox fashion flanked by singer Kyle Morton and guitarist Dave Hall. As the band opened with “Common Sentiments” off their 2013 release White Lighter, you could sense that this show was going to be like none other you’ve seen before.
Morton possesses a unique vocal style. He delivered the lyrics of this song about haunted memories with immediacy seemingly in one breath in one long run-on sentence. There were so many components of Typhoon’s performance, it was difficult to know where to look. From the horn section of Tyler Ferrin, Eric Stipe, and Ryan McAlpin to bassist Toby Tanabe quietly lurking in the corner, to Shannon Steele and Jen Hufnagel, the lovely ladies on violin – each member of this band threw their heart and soul into the performance and by doing so warmed the hearts of the audience.
With two drummers and Tanabe on bass, the rhythm section possessed a hefty groundedness contrasted with light as a feather keys and strings that opened up to Steele and Hufnagel’s blooming vocals. The collective weight of the instrumentation was viscerally overwhelming and tugged at the dark corners of your being and caused them to turn up a smile. During “100 Years,” gnarled guitars and a robust horn section gave the song a much more grandiose feeling than the album version throughout followed by an explosion of drums where a very tall Hilton put the entire weight of his large frame behind the force of his drumming. Typhoon’s performance was unlike any other we’ve seen in some time best described as jawdroppingly beautiful.
See full gallery of Typhoon swallowing the tiny stage of Harlow’s HERE!