On the Road With Matthew Houck, a.k.a. Phosphorescent

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Matthew Houck, who has long recorded and performed as Phosphorescent, performed with his band last month at the East Williamsburg venue Brooklyn Steel for the second to last show (opener: Liz Cooper & the Stampede) of their European and US tour.


Houck, best known for his breakthrough album, Muchacho, recently released the follow-up album C’est La Vie after a five year recording hiatus—during which he relocated to Nashville, got married (his wife, Jo Shornikow, plays keyboards in the band), had two children, and survived a life-threatening bout of meningitis.


Phosphorescent’s use of meticulously layered sounds and tension-building repetition of musical forms—combined with roots-informed songwriting—seek out cracks of light in the darkness, cathartically rendering his feelings of alienation as something human and universal.


The following photos, from the Brooklyn Steel show, are the first installment of On The Road, a visual essay series that depicts the creative lives of notable musicians, onstage and off. 

Keyboardist Scott Stapleton Martin checks out the room at Brooklyn Steel.

Soundcheck. Left to Right: Kelly Doyle, David Torch, Chris Marine, and Rustine Bragaw.

Houck checks on daughter Dove, playing basketball with show opener Liz Cooper.

Houck talks with a fan, the screenwriter Paul Schrader, who is known for his work on Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

A pre-show toast.

Jo Shornikow, Phosphorescent’s keyboardist.

Performing at Brooklyn Steel.

Houck gets intimate with the crowd.

Phosphorescent fans in the front row.

Houck bids the audience adieu.
On The Road is a visual essay series by photographer Jacob Blickenstaff, illustrating the creative lives of notable musicians at work, onstage and off.