Neon Indian’s last stop on their six-month tour landed them in front of an energetic and eager crowd (The Hood Internet had just played) at Schubas in Chicago for the Tomorrow Never Knows music festival. For such brightly colored music, Alan Palomo, front man of Neon Indian, wore a black shirt with white polka dots, a black leather vest, black skinny jeans and white canvas shoes that all screamed rock and roll. His three band mates followed suit with the exception of the band’s only female, Leanne Macomber, who sported a bright purple wig. Even the lighting was simplistic blues and reds, and everyone who has been through kindergarten knows that makes purple, another dark shade to add to the conservative backdrop. This was a rock ‘n’ roll band fully equipped with an axe man ready to shred whenever let loose. Too bad Neon Indian doesn’t play rock and roll music – or so I thought.
Neon Indian is a leader of the newish glo-fi/chill wave genre that has been sweeping the blogosphere. Their music is new, hip, and typically about as far from classic rocks as it gets. But, Neon Indian decided to bring the noise. Hits like “Deadbeat Summer” and “Should Have Taken Acid With You,” chock-full of exploding synthes and airy vocals, were as strong as ever. And although, Palomo (with one shoe untied and bouncing around like an adolescent… well… on acid) was mesmerizing to watch, he alone was not the most interesting or exciting part of the night.
Rather it was during “Ephermeral Artery” and “Local Joke,” songs that get lost at the end of Psychic Chasm, that Neon Indian showed their true live colors. Palomo seemed to be doing his best Mick Jagger impression while the rest of the band pushed it into overdrive. So I guess in the end it comes full circle. Who would have thought? Neon Indian is a glo-fi band stuck in a rock band’s body. Or a rock band stuck in a glo-fi band’s bod? Either way, you know what I mean.