Neon Indian @ The Paradise 5.11.12
by Allison Walker (Journalism/Cinema Studies), published May 17th 2012
You know the lead singer of a band is doing something right when two girls, in different intervals, climb up on stage in an attempt to grope him. Alan Palomo of Neon Indian was that singer at The Paradise on May 11. He handled the persistent women by politely smirking and wiggling free from their grasp while simultaneously adjusting synthesizers and wailing into the microphone. I don’t know whether this is a normal occurrence for Palomo or if Boston girls are just too damn eager. If I were to blame anything (besides the eagerness) it would have to be the melodically and electronically entrancing show this band put on live.
The infectious, psychedelic nature of the 5-man act had the entire crowd, including myself, bouncing around the venue. The vocals, however, were obscure. Neon Indian’s technique of burying their voices into their instruments was interesting to say the least. They seized upon their lo-fi abilities, which made it hard to dissect Palomo’s voice from the layers of instruments. Did this make the concert less enjoyable? No. Each song individually was an experiment. Even the transitions between songs were decorated with video game sound effects and throbbing beats that hyped the crowd.
Tracks off their new album, Era Extraña, were given an extra punch in comparison to LP format. Notable songs and crowd favorites, “Hex Girlfriend” and “Polish Girl,” sent vibrating waves crashing around the venue. Appreciation was showed whenever the mic was turned to the crowd to fill in a chorus or a few “oh oh oh” lines. In “Future Sick,” the band took advantage of screeching electronics and a catchy chorus. They also held onto the precision they were certain of maintaining throughout the show. It’s evident that Neon Indian has learned how to make their performances crisper but still maintain their fuzzy nature.
Even though it has a chiller vibe, “Physic Chasms” was also a song that had the venue fully engaged in the performance. Palomo proved to be a good showman with his firm grip on the mic and sly maneuvers around the stage. The band had an unusually long encore (or intermission rather) that included first album, Psychic Chasms, hits “Should Have Taken Acid With You” and “Deadbeat Summer” which satisfied old fans.
Neon Indian has come to the forefront of indie music since their album debut in 2009 and they have been able to collect a pretty widespread fan base, which is a rarity. It’s safe to say I spotted a few girls who had half of their heads shaved sharing the venue with boys who look like they frequent Barstool Sports. I wished that Palomo’s voice was more articulate amongst the heavy synth beats and smash-a-bash drums, but in the end I did end up losing my voice. In a literal sense, Neon Indian was a more polished and entertaining machine than I had expected.