Summer officially ended with the fall equinox on September 22, but this weekend's two Phoenix shows at Central Park SummerStage — the last big outdoor event of the season that everyone you knew seemed to be at — felt like a better send-off. On Saturday evening, the weather was crisp, but inside with the very pale, very preppy crowd, it was almost mid-August muggy. Two bands whose stocks have risen significantly this year were on the bill, beginning with openers Passion Pit (a no-brainer in the booking department, in terms of musical temperament), which already had a packed house to deal with, and did so well. The polite Frenchies in Phoenix — all in tucked-in shirts, and blazers over sweaters over collars — sneaked out in the dark during the set change and drop-kicked the proceedings into gear with "Lisztomania," arguably their best song.
As the band churned out electro-pop, svelte front man Thomas Mars stalked the stage, crooning, smiling, and thanking the crowd (in both English and French!). Mars prefaced "Fences" by saying, "This is a song we never play — please be nice!" but he shouldn't have bothered: Not only was the crowed whooping and dancing from the count-off, but the band sounded as tight and sharp as on record. During the encore, Mars hopped into the audience, but not to do any singing; it seemed like he was genuinely grateful that so many people had shown up to see his band, and he wanted to make sure they knew it by sweating on them.