Taken from

The Troubadour, West Hollywood
Live Review: 11/24/10
It was a cold Wednesday night on the eve of Thanksgiving, yet I couldn’t turn down the allure of having my face melted off by Phathom. The four-piece band, hailing from Silverlake, features lead vocalist Matt Sikora and lead guitarist Jason Zielonka, bassist Yannick D’assignies and Anton Tilgren on drums.

They were headlining their fourth show at the Troubadour, an intimate venue nestled in the heart of West Hollywood and for this festive occasion, the band organized a party bus so their hardcore fans could ride in style. The massive, dark-tinted vehicle was packed with intense energy. People took turns pouring vodka from a classy crystal skull.

We arrived at the venue and were greeted with reasonably priced drinks and a warm, cozy atmosphere surrounding a darkly lit stage. In the background, the crisp sound of the speakers picked up a blaring guitar. It was the midst of an early sound check. Although I’ve been to the Troubadour several times, this time the venue had transformed into an intimate party of close friends. Youthful faces crowded around the stage; so close they could literally reach out and touch the performers. The softly colored lights created a hazy dream-like effect on everyone’s faces.

To start off the set, Lysolgang, a three-piece punk rock outfit ignited a mosh pit of flying elbows and kneecaps. Followed by the metal band, Allura, which brought a heavier fire to the table. When the headliner finally stepped onto the stage, the audience was stoked and primed. Phathom was enveloped in hushed silence when a loud sound bite of men discussing the existence of aliens loomed out of the darkness. Then at the fade out, Sikora’s rousing vocals abducted the audience in the brooding opener, “A New Escape.”

The mosh pit was once again full of high energy; especially during the untitled number, “Song 1″ off their upcoming CD, The New Piracy (available in March 2011 on Hardline Entertainment.) The stirring anthem began with dual guitars rapid-fire chugging on the low end, igniting the audience into a frenzy.

Another notable crowd-pleaser was the cover of the Beatles’ rock opus, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” Phathom George Harrison’s potent lyrics were respectfully given the Phathom treatment with Sikora’s powerful range and Zeilonka’s thunderous guitar riffs.

The energy and cohesiveness of their sound resulted from ten years of friendship and musical camaraderie. They’ve been playing together since their adolescence, starting originally as the band “Section 8″ (named after the military code for insanity.) And through their recent incarnation as Phathom, they’ve maintained all original members.

Finally they finished their set with one of their old favorites “Carrion” from off their Section 8 album, The Halo Effect. Sikora snarled angst-ridden lines, “my wounds are deep and poisonous” a nostalgic song they’ve played in the early days. Suddenly everyone was rocking out like it was 2012 and the end was near. Moved by the energy, Sikora shredded on his guitar backwards up over his head (a feat few can pull off.) Accompanied by D’assignies who steadily pumped out a gritty bass line and Tilgren who hammered out the driving beat.

It didn’t seem that long, but eventually all good things must come to an end. We left the scene feeling exuberant and undulating with positive energy and warmth. On the eve of the holidays, there is nothing more satisfying than rocking out to some fun bands and getting buzzed in the process.


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