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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SXSW: Neon Indian

Posted on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 6:29 PM

As Neon Indian set up at the Emo's Annex Pitchfork day party on Friday, people grew anxious. “We're Neon Indian,” said front man Alan Palomo as he adjusted the microphone. Someone in the crowd yelled back, “Hell yes you are!” After all there is a giant billboard of Palomo's face keeping it real on Red River Street.

Palomo is rumored to be responsible for leading the minimalist and lastest musical trend, chillwave or glo-fi, along bands like Memory Tapes, Toro y Moi, Washed Out and Small Black. According to New York Time's Jon Pareles, "It's recession-era music: low-budget and danceable."

With a turn of a knob the show erupted into a series of noise and fury of electro pop distortions. Palomo was lively on stage, dancing and moving in his bright white shoes and bright blue sweater. His curls bounced as he danced along to Psychic Chasms, their debut album. Keyboardist and sometimes vocalist, Leanne Macomber, accompanied him by clapping and springing up and down at really high altitudes.

The crowd went especially wild, nearly elbowing me in my face several times, with singles like Deadbeat Summer, Terminally Chill and I Should've Taken Acid With You. Their dreamy bubbly sound, videogame 80s beats and sharp guitar aroused the need to dance or at least jump in the half drunken audience.

It was late April of 2009 when I first heard Neon Indian's Deadbeat Summer off blog giant, Gorilla vs. Bear. I was quickly drawn by the band's mystery. The track made my must listen list even though I couldn't get a hold of Psychic Chasms until mid fall 2009.

Their show during ACL with !!! was a disappointment. I couldn't even recognize who they were, they miserably failed to back up their blog buzz. I was crushed. I spoke to them shortly after their show, they admitted that it was actually the first time the band played together. Alan Palomo, the brains behind Neon Indian, enlisted the help of old friends from Denton to give Neon Indian a stage presence, Macomber and Vega band mates, Ronald Gierhart and Jason Fariesback.

I was so taken by their performance during the Pitchfork day party, I actually went to go see them again at Club De Ville later that night for the Green Label Sound party where Entourage star, Adrian Grenier made a appearance. Sorry, no pictures. I'm not the paparazzi. The crowd, however, acted a little like the paparazzi during the show, piling up on all sides of the stage. Palomo didn't seem bothered by the constant flashing. Pop star fate? His dad was a Mexican pop star. Or maybe something to do with his extraterrestrial experience? He told Nylon TV that when he was five he saw a glowing alien that pointed at him and said, “You. You.” Whatever it is, after killer performances like those at SXSW, sold out shows in New York and a stellar performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, I'm sure there will be more flashing to come.

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