Club Downunder Tallahassee, FL October 16, 2009
Okay, I didn't expect this. After countless listens to Psychic Chasms in the summer, I expected the turnout tonight, the third night of Neon Indian's FIRST ever tour to be modest at best, a few wigged-out freaks, nothing more. Instead, the place was teeming with gawky college indie kids and an even greater number of jocks and the girls who love them. Not a problem, just a slight readjustment necessary. I retreat to the upper level, far away from the teeming crowd of hormones and bad sandals, where my only company is a bartender and a buncha empty chairs, and I still get a great view of Indian main man Alan Palomo making last minute adjustments to his synth and mixer -- Result!
There are a couple more surprises here. Neon Indian live is not just front man Palomo hunched in front of a Macbook, pointing and clicking, face two inches from the screen. Nope, clad in white pants and shirt, suspenders, and with an improbable mop of Robert Smith-meets-Marc Bolan hair, he has in short order assembled a cracked band that kinda makes the low-fi boombox symphonies of Psychic Chasms sound even better. Here's how it breaks down: Palomo parks himself behind a mic, a mixer/sampler, and a synth or two, to his left is a goth playing guitar, there's a drummer behind him, and there's a well-dressed young woman on another synth. After teasing us over and over with snippets of the intros of several songs on the album, Neon Indian mk.2 begin their headlong charge into every song off of Psychic Chasms.
Goddamn, but Neon Indian's songs are good. I waited with bated breath for "Should Have Taken Acid With You" and was rewarded by a twenty-foot tall motorik mantra with that earworm synth echo and a whispered lament for third-eye-washing opportunities lost. The mystery of the crowd size was solved when the audience just fucking erupted at the first notes of "Terminally Chill" -- aha, a blog sensation, I'm betting. Either that or maybe a song was on Gossip Girl. "Ephemeral Artery" rides a liquid-gold guitar riff to greater and greater heights of unholy Kraftwerk-glam ecstasy.
There are growing pains, unfortunately. Neon Indian slammed headlong into the maxim (also known as the Nirvana Dilemma) that the bigger your audience gets, the more boneheaded fans you get. This really creepy dickhead kept yelling at the keyboard player until he got escorted out, and two completely trashed-out girls went all lastnightsparty and keep jumping up on stage and grind dancing (and the audience... yawned in contempt) and slamming into equipment, until they too had to be physically removed. Sometimes the piper has to be paid for television commercials, gang. That said, the whole band was clearly surprised, overjoyed and even a lil' choked up by the rapturous reaction to their songs, thanking us over and over again. No, listen man, the pleasure is all ours.