Concerts Concerts Neon Indian: Synthesizers and Smoke Machines Galore!

Neon Indian: Synthesizers and Smoke Machines Galore!

Neon Indian at The Phoenix
Neon Indian
The Phoenix
May 8, 2012

Review by: Natalia Buia
Photos by: Michelle Cortese

Upon first listen of their new album, Era Extraña, Texan chillwave group Neon Indian prove they have the potential to dominate more than just the Saturday playlist at Urban Outfitters.

It's hard to believe that 24-year-old Alan Palomo wrote and recorded his 2011 sonic spectacle in constant solitude in a tiny apartment in Helsinki, Finland. The band’s 2009 debut, Psychic Chasms was a charming ride, while Era Extraña takes you on a more thrilling, celestial journey. But it’s not the destination but the journey that matters, right?

Unfortunately, at the Phoenix last Tuesday, the journey leading up to the headlining four-piece on stage fell a tad flat. Had the two opening acts (Silent Diane and Lemonade) played with more spirit and attentiveness, those eager for Neon Indian would have been in a better frame of mind for their 40 minute set. There’s no bigger buzzkill than an obnoxious opener, and unfortunately, we got stuck with two of them.

Together, Alan and his bandmates, Jason Faries (drums), Leanne Macomber (keys and occasional bass) and Lars Larsen (live visuals....whatever that means!) generated plenty of energy to warrant a few clap-and-sing-along moments from those at the front of the stage. Hearing such popular tracks as "Polish Girl" and "Future Sick" live sounded just as smooth and satisfying as on the Dave Fridmann-mixed album.

Not only was Neon Indian a full-out feast for the ears,but the gang pleased the eyes too — and I'm not talking about Palomo in those tight, pale-hued pants of his. Throughout the set, a large hexagon stood lit up and blowing smoke onto the stage. While trying to focus on the sweet synth sounds, I was left perplexed: was this just an homage to the cheesy '80s? Ben Stiller's Zoolander? Potential robots taking over the Phoenix and soon the whole city? Only Palomo knows and I’m cool with that. With his vigor and pep, he’d easily take on said robots and win.

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Video: Polish Girl

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