Phone Calls From Home @ The Studio at Webster Hall 06/03/2012

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The feeling of regret I have over ignoring past opening acts has never been greater. Actually, there’s never been any regret until now. It’s sad really, how people treat opening acts, using their set time as the perfect time to tweet about the headliner. But from what I’ve seen, opening acts never really mind that. Call Me Anything and Phone Calls From Home were the complete opposite and the epitome of everything you want in an opening act. These bands took over the stage, took over the venue, and most importantly took over the crowd. It was hard to not be completely enveloped in their astonishing performances. Call Me Anything and Phone Calls From Home opened for Paradise Fears at their June 3, 2012 show at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City. Both these bands blew me away and as a result, I’m going to try to get them as much buzz as I possibly can.

There are two types of performers: the kind that sing blindly to the audience, hoping the crowd can figure out the emotional content of a song for themselves and the kind that belt emotion as they play, giving an affecting performance that leaves listeners in awe. I would think it’s clear which of the two any performer would rather be. (In case you didn’t get it, it’s the second kind) Phone Calls From Home fall into the category of emotionally wrought lyrics, powerful instrumentals, and great vocals.

I had the pleasure of seeing Phone Calls From Home this past Sunday at the Studio at Webster Hall in New York City. And what a pleasure it was. While I wasn’t anywhere near the band as they performed, (I was hunched in a corner on top of a seat trying to write notes), it seemed like I was right next to PCFH as they performed, in anywhere but a concert venue. It was personal, the feeling of the environment around me. No longer was I in a dark basement with maybe a few hundred other people. I was in the band, in what they were playing, a full participant in their set. PCFH were playing their part and so was I. The pure musical talent they were emanating pulled me in so quickly that I forgot I was listening to them for the first time.

I’m not really surprised that I found myself a willing participant in PCFH’s set. They have this stage presence, one that exudes confidence, one that says they’ve been playing their whole lives (despite their seemingly young exterior), and a stage presence like that can’t be ignored no matter how hard you try. A confident stage presence from every member of the band mixed with a beautiful progression into each song might be the reason I liked their set so much. Even when Dave Place (lead singer) would stop to say a few words to introduce a song, those few words connected so well to the message of the proceeding song. A lot of times, performers get so lost in the moment, surrounded by hot stage lights and hundreds of people; it becomes easy to lose one’s train of thought. This was not the case for Phone Calls From Home. Each word, each message, each lyric sung was cohesive to one another. And each played a purpose, it came together to make a great performance.

From their set I felt amused, heart wrenched, in awe, and so emotionally involved in their music. Whether it was from the funniest performance of Akon ever, or from throwing giant beach balls into the crowd, or from a beautiful performance of The Script, there was never a dull moment in their set, never a moment that made me look somewhere else in the room wondering if there was something else more entertaining. Phone Calls From Home was the entertainment, and they owned the stage. They even owned the stage as they made sure no beach ball socked them in the head. And that is impressive. A band being on high alert for incoming beach balls as they perform. C’mon, you just can’t write stuff like that.

If I had to pick which song was my favorite of the night from PCFH, it had to be “I Guess You Could Call It Love.” It had the crowd screaming, jumping, and waving their arms in the air. Phone Calls From Home are impressive. I’ll be keeping my eye out for them.

Phone Calls From Home is Dave Place (vocals, bass), Zack Gowan (guitar), Danny Stockman (drums), and Jason Vieira (guitar).

Set List:
1. Forget You
2. Nobody Wanna See Us Together -Akon
3. Show Me Love
4. For the First Time –The Script
5. When it’s Over Now
6. I Guess You Could Call It Love


Photo Credit: Mark Loper

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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