When Neon Indian comes to Brooklyn for a free show (thanks Converse Rubber Tracks), you know it's going to be a good night. I had the chance to interview Neon Indian frontman Alan Palomo last week
about his making-of video for the "Slumlord Rising" music video and his new music more generally. I went in knowing that I was seeing Neon Indian a week later at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, but I left the conversation even more excited for the show. Alan showed an extraordinary depth of intellect in his approach to his music (as well as film) that combined with my previous high regard for last year's Vega Intl. Night School
had me convinced that I'd have a great evening, and Neon Indian did not disappoint.
Before we get to Neon Indian's set, let's circle back for a second to Converse Rubber Tracks who put on the show. I'd known about the Converse Rubber Tracks program for a while (it's hard to not know something exists when they arrange tours with acts like Future Islands, Matt & Kim, the Orwells, Neon Indian, and many others), but I'd never had the chance to go to one of the shows before. But I went and finally learned what it was all about: giving local acts a chance to open for established indie acts, giving said local acts a chance to record in a professional studio, and putting on great shows in meaningful local venues free of charge to folks. And considering how much fun I had at the Neon Indian show, I'd say they've got their formula on lock.
The opening act for the evening was Future Punx although I was sadly only able to catch a brief amount of their set. But considering the venue was packed when I arrived and the audience was definitely grooving to their jams, they appeared to be getting the job done. But, people were there that night for Neon Indian, and for an artist who is credited with launching the chillwave movement earlier this decade, there was nothing chill about Neon Indian's set; it was a full-force blast of funk, psychedelia, and dance.
If you've heard Vega Intl. Night School
, you might actually be wondering how well the record can even translate live in the first place. It's highly textured. There are crazy effects everywhere. And while Neon Indian is decidedly Alan Palomo's project, the live show needs the band he brings with him. And they lay down a kaleidoscopic, phantasmagoric groove that shoots Neon Indian's sounds through the chameleonic genre landscape they call their own. And the dancing...who knew that Alan could dance this well? He's got moves, and the audience was following along. There was barely a single person in attendance that wasn't lost in their own rhythm and groove. And that includes the bear couple next to me whose grinding leapt past that plateau and into the realm of straight up dry humping during "Slumlord." And if you can get couples to engage in borderline sexual acts in public to your music, you're probably doing something right.