REWIND! Neon Indian – Metro Chicago – 2010

[REWIND! is a weekly feature where Hugh Voltage and Ray De Ation dig through the coverage archives. The original words and photos are published with modern commentary about what they think now.]
THIS WEEK: Neon Indian – Metro Chicago – 2010

HUGH: All jokes aside, this was legit the first time I saw a band bust out a theremin during a show. I was dazed. I was confused. I was dazed and confused. I was super in to the same hits that everyone else was, but even as a kid that grew up with the bleeps and bloops of old school video games I wasn’t on board with their style. Until I saw them live. Neon Indian will blow your damn socks off. Go see them live.

RAY: I remember this show. I was actually more excited to see the opener Prefuse 73, but was disappointed to see that the crowd wasn’t really into him. I was however super stoked to see Neon Indian for the first time. This was the time when Polish Girl and Deadbeat Summer were huge. He’s made some great music since and I am looking forward to seeing Neon Indian’s live set again.

ORIGINAL REVIEW FOLLOWS: Neon Indian – Metro Chicago – 2010
With a Pitchfork score of 8.6 and an almost Titanic “top of the world” description from the media, Neon Indian should have completely, totally, utterly caused wave after wave of emotion to wash over the “chillwave” hipsters in the crowd. On some level they delivered, but not in the way we were expecting.

As a sometime fan of Neon Indian (enough to have a Groove Shark playlist with the entirety of their work), the fact the show was nothing less than migraine inducing (and nothing more than an audio/visual bludgeoning of my senses) was – in a word – disappointing. On one hand, the video presentation – which included a modded LCD fretboard on the guitar which displayed videos – was nothing short of breathtaking. Hand puppets peppered the screen throughout the set and the constant dancing and audience participation were fantastic. On the other hand, it sounded like chaos.
Palomo on Theremin was awesome, but outside of prolonged delays and song transitions the nuance was lost in the criminally bad sound. The two sides of the Metro were black and white in terms of their sound and there was no happy medium throughout the set. If it wasn’t a venue everyone in city of Chicago was so familiar with it might get blamed on that, but this is the Metro people.

Given the fact that Palomo and his touring troupe are as talented as they are, they must have been aware of this. To their credit, they weren’t phased by it in the least because they still put on one of the craziest, most energetic concerts we have seen – even if the stage looked like a bad acid trip involving the Jonas Brothers.

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