Neon Indian at the Entry, 10/13/11

Neon Indian at the Entry, 10/13/11
Photos by Erik Hess

Neon Indian
October 13, 2011
7th St. Entry

Neon Indian's sold-out show at the Entry Thursday night had all the makings for a stellar show. There was a rabid, passionate fan base that packed the club (and plenty more left on the outside looking in, offering really strange trade offers for any extra tickets), strong opening acts (Purity Ring and Com Truise), and a band who was quite thrilled to be playing to a full room in Minneapolis. 

But, while the 55-minute show was by no means a catastrophe, it wasn't the magical, transcendent performance that fans were hoping for.

The set began with the soaring pulse of "Terminally Chill," and the current hit single, "Polish Girl," and while the crowd (which was quite young and rather obnoxious) did their best to get into it, the show started sluggishly. It wasn't until the moody "Hex Girlfriend" before the five-piece band found their rhythm, and the song churned right along with the audience. But the momentum was ruined a bit with a plodding version of "Mind Drips" that decidedly brought down the energy level of the club.

Frontman (and Neon Indian mastermind) Alan Palomo then warmly addressed the crowd for the first time, "We haven't been to Minneapolis in a minute, and it's pretty rad to see all of you pack this place tonight." And while his statement was totally sincere and genuine, his music is a bit cold and artificial, lacking the soul that can truly forge a deep connection with the audience. Don't get me wrong, it makes for great listening on your headphones, but live I felt that a natural spark was missing in the performance to fully draw me in.

Neon Indian at the Entry, 10/13/11
Neon Indian at the Entry, 10/13/11
Photos by Erik Hess

​It was also interesting to see Palomo, the architect of all of these songs, predominantly concentrate on singing while he mostly deferred the musical compositions to his backing band. He occasionally would tinker with his Korg keyboard, adding texture and sonic flourishes when the song needed it, but mostly he just stuck to singing. And while the band was quite talented (with a few of them deftly playing different instruments throughout the set, bouncing from keys to guitar to bass), I wanted to hear other contributions from Palomo other than his tranquil vocals.

After an impassioned version of "Futuresick," Palomo joked about how hot it was getting in the teeming Entry, "I feel if we didn't know each other twenty minutes ago, we certainly know each other now." But that connection didn't become any stronger throughout the set, as "6669 (I Don't Know If You Know)" was plagued by technical problems as Polomo's mic cable went out and needed to be replaced mid-song. Alan then teased the crowd just a bit, "I'm getting a very horizontal dance vibe from the crowd, a lot of swaying back and forth. Maybe we can shift to a more vertical movement with your hands and your feet." Unfortunately, that wouldn't happen, though it was insightful on his part to figure out that Minneapolis crowds can't dance.

The band did hit their stride again towards the end of the set, as the dual-drum rhythms and pulsing bass line of "Fallout" was quickly followed by an ebullient version of "Psychic Chasm." And, before playing a rousing version of "Deadbeat Summer" (one of the best tracks of the night which quickly turned into a crowd singalong), Palomo pointed out that it was the two year anniversary of the release of his debut album, a milestone that he was happy to be celebrating with us.

A percussive, fiery version of "Ephemeral Artery" closed out the main set strongly, and the band wisely didn't keep us waiting for the encore, as Palomo thanked us for coming, "We just want to play one more because you guys have been fucking awesome." They actually ended up playing two more, as the moody instrumental "Heart Decay" served as an introduction to the rousing closer "I Should Have Taken Acid With You." And perhaps, judging by how wasted most of the crowd seemed to be, I should have taken the song's advice and I would have enjoyed the show a bit more.

Neon Indian at the Entry, 10/13/11
Neon Indian at the Entry, 10/13/11
Photos by Erik Hess

Critic's Bias: I thoroughly enjoyed Psychic Chasms, but haven't given Era Extraña much of a listen as of yet. But I definitely prefer Neon Indian's records to their live show.

The Crowd: A mostly young, overheated, overflow crowd that doesn't know how to handle their booze (or dance, apparently) made for one insufferable audience.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Look at how low I can dance. I'm almost touching the floor."

Random Notebook Dump: For the longest time I honestly thought the name of Neon Indian's debut was Psychic Charms.


Terminally Chill

Polish Girl

Hex Girlfriend

Mind Drips


6669 (I Don't Know If You Know)


Psychic Chasms

Deadbeat Summer

Ephemeral Artery

Heart Decay (Encore)

I Should Have Taken Acid With You (Encore)

Openers Purity Ring
Openers Purity Ring
Openers Purity Ring
Openers Purity Ring
Photos by Erik Hess

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