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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Live Review, 4/24/12: Neon Indian Eases Its Way Into Our Hearts At The Fillmore

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Neon Indian at the Fillmore last night.
  • Neon Indian at the Fillmore last night.

Neon Indian


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Fillmore

Better than: Trying to enjoy them at Coachella while getting a beat down by the sun.

Twenty-three-year-old musical prodigies such as Neon Indian frontman Alan Palomo tend to be either extremely full of themselves or graciously humble. Palomo proved to be the latter of the two last night for his first performance at the Fillmore.

"You guys are the perfect energy to play our songs to. We just want to play them all," he said in the middle of the set.

With the release of debut Psychic Chasms in 2010 and its follow-up, Era Extrana, last year, Palomo's layered synths and keyboards helped define the "chillwave" genre. Starting off last night with slower tracks like "Hex Girlfriend" and "Fallout," Palomo shifted across the stage twisting knobs, dabbling on keyboards, and doing a dance best described as a sexy version of the cabbage patch, without the hand motions.


The spacey transitions between songs, heavy distortion, and acid trip sounds were muddled and lost during Neon Indian's set at Coachella last weekend. I was much happier being able to look into Palomo's dark brown eyes and curly locks up close, without almost passing out from the extreme heat.

He didn't crack a single smile until introducing his live band five songs in. The pixie-haired Leanne Macomber on keyboards and synths, drummer Jason Faries, a guitarist switching off on bass for a few songs and another keyboard/synth combo all made a perfect soundscape for the Fillmore.

Live drums go a long way, as opener Lemonade demonstrated with their three-piece outfit of synths, drum machines, and vocals. Banging on drum pads with mallets and drum sticks just doesn't look or sound as cool as a drum set. I didn't catch Lemonade's entire set, which I now regret. The heavy bass I felt resonating from the soles of my shoes up to my temples left a lasting impression.


Just before getting too mellow with blue and red stage lighting and too many slow songs, Neon Indian woke up the early week crowd with his dancefloor hits. The thick cloud of marijuana smoke hovering over the audience quickly dissolved after "Polish Girl." The song was seamlessly executed, with a bass player doling out some funk that was impossible not to dance to. Coming right after, "Deadbeat Summer" kept the energy up.

After declaring his love for our wonderful city and swearing it wasn't some "teleprompter bullshit," Palomo appropriately ended with "Should Have Taken Acid With You" around 11:15 p.m.

Critic's notebook: Some bands are best enjoyed in smaller venues. Neon Indian is definitely one of them.

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Erika Maldonado


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