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Phoenix likes to stretch its wings with live work

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The French group Phoenix has been on the road fairly consistently since the April 2013 release of its fifth album, "Bankrupt!" And keyboardist-guitarist Laurent Brancowitz says touring provides a bit of an antidote to the exacting way in which the quartet works in the studio.

"It's a totally different state of mind," explains Brancowitz, 40, who co-founded Phoenix in 1999 after playing in another band, Darlin', whose other members would go on to become Daft Punk. "When we are recording we are very focused and very conscious of what's happening. When we are playing live it's very important to reach a different state where you're on the verge of madness.

"For us, playing live is much more enjoyable,and it's also something you can share wtih a lot of people, hopefully. In the studio it's a very focused attitude, like the life of monks, with some very brief moments of joy that make it all worthwhile. Live, it's fantastic because when you are tired of the studio you can go travel the world and just go to a new city every day and see a lot of people. So this balance is almost perfect."

That said, Brancowitz adds that Phoenix took a freer approach to making "Bankrupt!" -- which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 -- than any of its predecessors. That, he says, was a reaction, too -- in this case to the pressure Phoenix faced in following up its Grammy Award-winning 2009 set "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix."

"We knew that people would listen to this album and think we had a weight on our shoulders -- and we didn't want it to sound like that at all," Brancowitz says. "We wanted maybe the opposite. We wanted to enjoy the fact that we could be even weirder and we could go a bit farther and that people would listen to it and give us the benefit of the doubt.

"We knew we had this chance that is quite rare, so there was this joy of knowing that people would listen to our music, and we wanted to use that fact in a positive way -- not just giving people what they expect but instead something they didn't think was even possible."

Phoenix and Albert Hammond Jr. perform Wednesday, June 11, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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