Neon Indian @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton 15/11/11

November 26, 2011 by  

It’s a cold day in Brighton, and presumably the majority of people in attendance at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar have had the same unpleasantly average and wind-battered Tuesday as me. It takes a certain type of band to warm the place up, something main support band Trophy Wife failed to do. The main attraction (and distraction) of Trophy Wife’s live show was drummer, Kit Monteith, enthusiastically beating away at electronic drum pads. The combination of him being more or less centre stage and the percussion being so high in the mix made it hard to focus on the songs that lay underneath. Maybe it’s reflective of each song’s strength or maybe it was simply an issue with live sound. Either way no-one can say they don’t try: their on stage energy is impressive if not a little futile. Now, this could be a case of a bad day at the office, as they don’t sound bad on record.

It’s very easy (and lazy, I might add) for the press to carelessly dismiss Neon Indian as ?chillwave?. It’s true, components of Texas-born Alan Palomo’s music, as Neon Indian, provide the back bone to the so-called blog-spawned genre. Those same basic elements can be found in a million and one bedroom acts borrowing from the 80s, however, that is where the comparison ends. Still only twenty-three years old and with two astonishing releases (‘Psychic Chasms’ and ‘Era Extra?a’) already behind him, Palomo has displayed his superior understanding of mixing pop and psychedelia with flavours of electro funk, italo-disco, and 80s electronica.

When it was time, Palomo took to the stage with his 4-piece live band in tow. The Brighton crowd could have been more welcoming but like I said, it was a cold day. The set-list contained an even mix of both albums to date. Each band member seemed engrossed in the music, which sounds cheesy but in this case it worked. Just as easily as tailed off into weaving psych instrumentals they could drop back into the structure of the song. Palomo especially seemed to wrestle with his Korg MS-20 before assuming the role of frontman.

Track by track Neon Indian brought their own blend of saturated synths and punchy beats, drowning the venue’s attendance in a tidal wave of infectious hooks. Jams like ‘Polish Girl’ and ‘Hex Girlfriend’ could easily instigate crowd surfing, in the right venue though the ceiling of Sticky Mike’s coming in at about 2 metres doesn’t exactly promote that kind of frivolous behaviour.

The set came to a close with certified hit ‘Deadbeat Summer’ spliced into funkier ‘Ephemeral Artery’. Spurred on by Palomo and co’s spirited performance, a decent portion of the docile crowd had broken out of head bobbing and instead began showcasing some more ambitious moves, just in time for the sensationally sluggish ‘Should Have Taken Acid With You’ as an encore. Everyone appeared to be sporting a warm afterglow following the soaring highs of the Neon Indian set, perhaps enough to see us home in the bitter cold.