Phoenix, this amazing, uplifting French band on SNL last night, was unrecognizable to my French friend watching the show. He knew electronic Phoenix--the guys who sounded like a much better, far superior version of Jamiroquai. But these guys looked like they could have been out of Brooklyn, sharing practice space with Vampire Weekend. The following three things gave away the fact that Phoenix, in fact, is from France:
*The adorable lead singer's shirt was slightly pressed like he'd picked it up from the cleaners and yet he still wore it in a laid-back, pass me the carafe, way--a clean, casual, style belonging to the French. They do casual like we dress up here.
*Phoenix looked like they were really relishing being on the SNL stage. This exuberance and gratitude didn't fit the aloof, no-big-deal-ness of a posturing band out of Brooklyn. It was refreshing and got you even more excited. The French love NYC. For them, being on SNL is what going back in time and being on Ed Sullivan would be for a Brooklyn band on the rise, now that would be cool...SNL? No big deal. Americans like to up the stakes. The French appreciate simplicity.
*Again, the smiles and the brotherly love in the band's performance wasn't from here, where friendships, work relationships come and go. French people tend to stay friends for life and are hard-pressed to let anyone new in unless they're a friend of a close friend. These guys looked at each other when they were rocking out like, "Can you believe this? This is awesome. We did it." They probably hugged each other backstage afterward, or at least I hope they did.
So Phoenix, perfect band for spring/summer/driving through the country with the window rolled down: