This weekend marks the second year for First City Festival with the two-day event taking place Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24 at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center. Headlined by Beck and The National, First City Festival is set to deliver a premier lineup featuring over 30 acts in the breathtakingly beautiful city of Monterey.
The lineup features mostly rock and indie acts, but has some electronically-driven talent on the lineup. Day 1 of the festival features top talent like Best Coast and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but the first day's spotlight goes to Phantogram.
The New York bred duo is comprised of guitarist Josh Carter and keyboardist Sarah Barthel, both of whom contribute vocals to the band's work. Phantogram's sound is heavily driven by rhythmic beats and harmonic vocals, and can best categorized as electronic music with a rock edge, indie twang, and synthpop kick.
Carter and Barthel have been friends since junior high and started their band in 2007 under the name Charlie Everywhere. In 2009 Phantogram officially changed their name and released their self-titled debut EP. Later that year the duo released a second EP, Running From the Cops, and their debut studio album entitled Eyelid Movies.
Several of their singles from Eyelid Movies gained traction and were used in the media for commercials and TV shows. Phantogram emerged with new music two years later with the release of Nightlife in 2011. The duo went on to tour at big name festivals like Sasquatch, Outside Lands, and Coachella.
Phantogram worked collaboratively with rapper Big Boi, who is also one half of Outkast, and appeared on three songs off his second studio album, 2013's Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Phantogram also worked with the legendary Flaming Lips on "You Lust" from The Terror, their 2013 album.
In September 2013, Phantogram released another self-titled EP as a prelude to their second studio album, Voices. All four singles from the EP appeared on Voices, which was released earlier this year along with seven new tracks. The duo has stated that they plan to release an EP with Big Boi.
After successful performances at this year's Lightning in a Bottle and Lollapalooza festivals, the duo will be heading to the Bay Area for Day 1 of First City Festival. Phantogram's dreamy sound against the background of crisp Monterey air will definitely be a delightful pairing, especially at night when they take the Redwood stage at 7:25 p.m. for an hour-long set. Their recorded material is, of course, wonderful to listen to on speakers, but their live performance is truly outstanding.
Phantogram will set forth on their fall tour across the US and Europe, starting in September with their first stop at the Fox Theater in Pomona, CA. See all the dates and ticket information on their website. Single and two day general admission and VIP tickets for this weekend's First City Festival are still available for purchase.