Longtime performer Houck successfully stretches folk live

Courtesy of Phosphorescent
Courtesy of Phosphorescent

For a long time music lover, especially one who has scoured indie music blogs for nearly a decade, it’s a surprise to come across a universally praised act which isn’t new to the scene. I first heard the name Phosphorescent, the alter ego of Matthew Houck, buzzing on my Twitter feed last month and quickly assumed that ‘they’ were a new rising act.

Matthew Houck has been producing music under the Phosphorescent pen name since 2003, though he recorded and toured as Fillup Shack beginning in 2000. He had a long, tired journey to get to his sixth album, Muchacho, which was his first to hit the Billboard 200 last month. The persistent performer finished off the US leg of his album release tour last Thursday at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom – and he finished it off with a vengeance.

The nearly 90 minute set, a mix of material from his last three albums, showed that indie folk can thrive in a more traditional form even in the era of pop-leaning Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. Backed up by a raucous five-piece band, Houck hit country tones and ‘70s rock riffs to an open-minded, diverse crowd.

Shaped and grizzled as Houck is, the solo artist’s voice has a warmth akin to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon or  The Tallest Man on Earth. The set hit a sweet spot with his synth, violin and pedal-steel guitar-laden single “Song for Zula,” which would rightly turn up as a single on alt. rock radio in a perfect world.

The introspective “A Picture of Our Torn Up Praise” helped lead the way into a three-song encore that seemed to last much longer. Houck did  push his luck on “Wolves,” an unaccompanied piece which he looped his voice on top of itself over and over again electronically.

The duet which followed, a cover of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s “Storms Never Last,” was a full-on ode to country. The duet showed off one of his backing musicians’ sweet, tender voice for the duet.  “Los Angeles” finished off the night, a bluesy tune which is a bit more standard contemporary indie folk fare.

Phosphorescent hits the hearts of Pitchfork-wielding critics. Yet, Phosphorescent’s live set showed that he certainly isn’t serving up standard buzz ‘meat.’ The sold out, enraptured crowd ate it up.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.