Review: The Late Night Synths of Neon Indian

Metro was in for a very special set Saturday night from Denton, Texas, synth-pop band, Neon Indian. It had been quite a while since any new material was released by Alan Palomo and definitely long overdue. They recently put out a new single titled “Toyota Man” which is almost entirely sung in Spanish and is very socially driven, bringing up one of the hottest American political topics: immigration. I was among the throng of fans eager to hear this song live because of its message and what it stands for alongside the rest of Neon Indian’s array of glitchy tunes.

The show was a late one with the opening act, Lou Rebecca, going on just after 9. She gracefully strolled onto the stage wearing a poofy transparent dress and a headpiece with antlers. Right away she captivated the audience with her impressive high-pitched vocals accompanied by some magnificent synths that sounded like they came straight from the ’80s. She had very high energy throughout her short and theatrical set, as she danced and changed costume about halfway through. She almost reminded me of Grimes if she had existed during the ’80s when synths were booming in popularity.

The night was growing long and the anticipation grew. The crowd was more than ready for Neon Indian. Dressed like he and the band were ready for a cruise in the Caribbean, lead singer Alan Palomo appeared very ecstatic to put on the show. He flaunted some very provoking dance moves throughout the set that made fans dance along and drop their worries for a while. They kept the night interesting by performing all of their hits from their last album, VEGA INTL. Night School which included “Annie,” “The Glitzy Hive,” and “Slumlord.” “Slumlord” led straight into “Slumlord’s Re-Release,” which was nothing but a synthy haven that had my ears captivated and lost in the rich sounds the entire time.

Neon Indian was not afraid to throw a few covers into their set. My personal favorite was their cover of “Vamos A La Playa.” They resurrected this ’80s summer hit back to life and made it their own. If I didn’t know any better, I would think it was one of their own songs because of how well it matched the sound of their other work. Alan’s vocal performance on the song was outstanding and I would love to see an official release of it. I really just wanted them to play it over and over again.

As their set came to a close, they still had not played anything from their beloved album Era Extraña. Thankfully they came back out for an encore set and as many expected, they played two of their most recognizable tracks from Era Extraña: “Hex Girlfriend” and “Polish Girl.” The crowd seemed the loudest during these two songs as they are some of Neon Indian’s best work in my opinion. Although I would have liked to have heard more from this album live, I thoroughly enjoyed what Alan gave us and my hunger to hear those songs live was fed. Neon Indian’s show is best described as pure ear candy. They gave fans nothing but their best hits including some new material that made for a very fulfilling evening.

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Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas is a freelance photographer from Naperville who specializes in portraiture and concert photography. He has an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage and is always looking for new creative outlets.

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