Phosphorescent | Photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

Phosphorescent‘s performance proved that power doesn’t have to equal volume. He walked nonchalantly out onto World Cafe Live’s downstairs stage, just a man and his acoustic guitar — and a colorful hat prompting compliments from the crowd.

Opening with “C’est La Vie No. 2” off his latest album C’est La Vie, Matthew Houck’s vocals were gruff yet beautiful. His delicate strumming paired perfectly with his soft lyrics, even though he self-admittedly had not played the acoustic guitar on stage in nearly two decades. I certainly wouldn’t have noticed.

Phosphorescent’s performance of “My Beautiful Boy” was chock full of emotion, the track being a product of his entry into parenthood. The songs that weren’t originally acoustic were transformed seamlessly by Houck, such as “New Birth in New England.” Its successful high-pitched hums seemed effortless for the singer.

Phosphorescent’s personality shone bright through humorous sound bites between songs. In introducing “These Rocks,” he told the audience that it was, evidently, “a song about rocks.” Houck’s charisma made him interesting to watch, whether he was strumming or simply transitioning.

The last song of the set was “Song For Zula,” a track from Phosphorescent’s 2013 album Muchacho, and it showcased the strength of his vocals as he belted it out for the crowd before making his way off stage. The hearty applause was fitting for the wholesomely low-key set. Give C’est La Vie a listen now and check out Phosphorescent on tour this summer.

Phosphorescent – NonComm 2019

C’est La Vie
My Beautiful Boy
These Rocks
New Birth in New England
Song for Zula