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Neon Indian live at the Metro, Chicago


text: Alex Gavin | photography: Brandon Farrington

The internet-fueled buzzbands of a few years ago have all grown up. Well, sort of grown up. Alan Palomo, the frontman for Denton, Texas’ Neon Indian, still looks like a kid, and for good reason: the dude is only 24. At this tender age, though, Palomo has marked more than his share of music milestones with past projects Ghosthustler and his solo work as VEGA. Neon Indian has proven itself to be Palomo’s meal ticket, and his 2011 sophomore album Era Extraña has propelled the band’s sold-out shows across the country, destined to enjoy middle-tier status on this summer’s festival circuit – not bad for a few years work.

Over the past little bit, a wave of lo-fi bands have flooded our ears. As a result, we have slowly moved into an era of indie rock where the less-is-more philosophy reigns supreme. Over-the-top productions have given way to minimalistic compositions, and the most successful bands have perfected the art of providing a lot of tonal punch with few elements. Not to say the music of Neon Indian is simple –  far from it. Piecing together these songs requires a deft approach, utilizing each element to its maximum potential. This is no easy task, and all you have to do is survey bands similar to Neon Indian – there are hundreds –  to appreciate the genius of their simple methodology.

As Palomo manned his synth, a surprisingly small keyboard housed in a fluorescent box, the band punched out track after track of their dreamy brand of indie-electro pop. The chief of Neon Indian spent most of his time crooning into the microphone, bobbing his pompadour in time with the washed-out beats and 8-bit synths. The girls in the audience seemed to really, really like him, and their reactions led me to believe that Neon Indian may have the required elements to make it to the nation’s big marquees.

Let’s check the list and see. Neon Indian has:

  • A band that elevates its records to new heights in a live setting.
  • Care-free music with non-polarizing elements. (My mom likes Neon Indian, so, yeah.)
  • An indie-pop star for a lead singer, complete with boyish charm and the looks.
  • The adoration and “I heard of them first” support of the blogosphere.

Yep. It all checks out, four for four. Looks like they’ll be around for awhile, guys. And this is a good thing, because I couldn’t help but leave the show wanting more.

To see what all the fuss is about, check the below dates and see if Neon Indian is coming to a theater near you:

04-12 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
04-24 San Francisco, CA – Fillmore Auditorium
04-26 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
04-27 Seattle, WA – Neumos
04-28 Vancouver, BC – Venue
04-30 Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room
05-01 Calgary, AB – The Republik
05-03 Winnipeg, MB – Pyramid Cabaret
05-04 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
05-05 Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
05-06 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
05-08 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
05-10 Montreal, QC – Cabaret Mile End
05-11 Boston, MA – Paradise
05-12 New York, NY – Terminal 5

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