Lyle A. Waisman, Getty Images It wasn't enough to play on The Flaming Lips…
- Posted on Aug 17th 2010 10:00AM by Alex Suskind
Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images
Fast-forward two months to Monday night's Neon Indian show in New York City. The scene was a decidedly different atmosphere, as the group played to 150 people inside the dark and damp basement of the Studio at Webster Hall as part of MTV's new 'Live in NYC' series. Despite the clear change in scenery, the four-piece based out of Denton, Texas put on an inspired and powerful performance, full of thick, fuzzy guitar riffs, booming drums and mind-bending synths.
After opening with four songs from their breakout debut 'Psychic Chasms,' lead singer Alan Palomo took time out of their set to address the crowd. "It's a very intimate Monday," he said, referring to the club's close setting, as he slowly sipped on a Corona with lime. Since coming onto the music scene last year, Neon Indian's lead songwriter and only official member has been the de facto face of the "chillwave" genre, a term coined for groups who mix lo-fi effects with '80s new wave sounds. Although there has been some debate as to whether this is a real genre in the first place -- Palomo himself said in a July interview with San Francisco Weekly that he's "never seen such a self-referential genre as chillwave -- Palomo and the three members who make up Neon Indian's live band still accomplish the intricate and demanding task of stringing together a series of synthesizers, modulators and guitars into a coherent set of melodies, no matter what label any music blog tries to put on them.
Their live shows have grown a reputation for being full-scale dance parties, partly due to the energy the band exhibits on stage. Although Monday's performance had a much different feel to the typical Neon Indian show, where fans seemed to be more interested in just listening to the music then gyrating their bodies, the group still put all of their power and effort into the cramped space at Webster Hall, playing multi-layered lo-fi tracks like 'Local Joke,' 'Should Have Taken Acid With You' and 'Deadbeat Summer.'
While replicating each one of their songs to the live show seems difficult, Neon Indian show no signs of it onstage. Last night was a perfect example of the chemistry all four members exhibit during a performance. Despite the restricted stage space, each musician was able to carve out a little niche for themselves during their songs: Leanne Macomber jumped around and banged away on her two synthesizers, Ronald Gierhart slowly grooved to the beat while laying down psychedelic guitar riffs, drummer Jason Faries flailed around and provided a booming backbeat and Palomo, in front of his table of synth and FX goodies, flawlessly segued one song into the other.
Although Neon Indian seem to thrive in a larger, livelier atmosphere than the one at the Webster Hall Studio, they continue to grow a following due to their energy and excitement they exhibit up onstage. Whether they are playing to thousands or hundreds, the band still puts on one hell of a show.