PHOTOS / RECAP: Phosphorescent @ The Fillmore, San Francisco 9/28/13

T.J. Mimbs is a new contributor to the site and is just starting up here after he made a move to San Francisco. His first review was a good one for him to pick considering it got him to visit The Fillmore for the first time. Check out his words and photos below. –Editor

When you walk into The Fillmore, faced immediately by action shots of legendary artists who have graced its stage, you expect to have one hell of an experience. Any music fan with a pulse has heard the rave reviews of Phosphorescent’s 2013 release, Muchacho. Being a fan of the record myself, I was more than a little excited to witness its live incarnation at such a historic venue. On Saturday night, Matthew Houck and his fellow musicians did not disappoint.

The crowd was warmed up by Indians, the nom de plume of Danish singer-songwriter, Søren Løkke Juul. Juul walked unassumingly onto the stage, plugged in his guitar, and began to slowly whisk us away with his ethereal musical musings. Simultaneously sparse and lush, the set came to its climax when the one-man-band added two more members, in the form of the drummer and pedal-steelist of Phosphorescent.

A lengthy intermission between the opener and the main event gave me an opportunity to explore the venue a bit. The second story of the The Fillmore offers concert-goers a lounge with opera-house-style booths providing a view of the stage and floor, along with a spacious room offering ample seating for those who wish to try the venue’s culinary creations. The walls of both areas are adorned with posters of past shows that showcase the staggeringly rich history of the concert hall on the corner of Geary Boulevard and Fillmore Street. First time there = did not disappoint.

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The dimming of the famous chandeliers brought us back to the present and the occasion at hand. Houck and his band (and his get-up) grasped our focus from the start and succeeded in holding it until the end. The first 45 minutes of the show brought us vivacious versions of Muchacho’s highlights. The truly special portion of the night, though, was Houck’s subsequent solo set, featuring him on piano for “Muchacho’s Tune,” electric guitar for a cover of “Far From Me” by John Prine, and looping pedal for “Wolves” from 2007’s Pride.

Phosphorescent brings an undeniable passion to their performance while still managing to exhibit a lighthearted excitement. There’s no doubt that these guys and gals recognize how great their job is, and there’s no doubt that they are great at it. When Matthew Houck and his band tour through your city, don’t think twice. Go.