With ethereal, electronic sounds, strobe lights, hipster glasses and tight pants, Neon Indian, who played at afterHOURS last week, is a rising star on the Indie music scene, according to Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Spin.
Northeastern’s Council for University Programs (CUP) hosted the group on Oct. 15, along with the opening group, Magic Man, a local rock band.
A small, intimate crowd came out for the show, with concert goers ranging from curious listeners to longtime fans.
Magic Man, a local Boston band with a Killers-esque vibe, opened for Neon Indian.
Alex Caplow, lead singer, had strong resounding vocals with an almost British sound. Combined with the ethereal tones from keyboardist Justine Bowe’s vocals, the pair carried the catchy tunes effortlessly.
In combination with Caplow and Bowe, guitarist Sam Lee, drummer Joey Sulkowski, and vocals and bass player Daniel Radin make up Magic Man, who have been performing together for roughly a year and a half.
Radin described the band’s sound as “triumphant synth rock.”
Opening with “Nova Scotia” off of the group’s new EP “You Are Here,” the performance was characterized by strong beats with electric synth melodies thrown in.
“Every Day” was a particularly strong number, branching away from their somewhat repetitive melodies, highlighting the spirited band dynamic through a more vocally diverse sound, and a great balance of electric to rock.
Closing with “Paris,” Magic Man changed their sound for a minor feel and did a fantastic job of subtly weaving the electric synth sounds.
Magic Man is about to go on a US tour with Sir Sly, a Los Angeles electronic rock trio.
Half an hour after Magic Man closed, Alan Palomo, composer for Neon Indian, walked on stage, looking reserved and professional.
Neon Indian, the brainchild of Palomo, released “Psychic Chasms” in 2009, propelling its earth-real, melodic and distorted sounds to the top of the indie charts.
Most recently released, “Era Extraña” (2011) shows a reﬁnement of the electronic and occasionally chaotic sounds of “Psychic Chasms” into a more coherent album, exempliﬁed by ethereal dream-like vocals and infectious repetitive beats and melodies.
Palomo immediately set to spinning, opening with an electric space sounding interlude to an 80s beat with brief glimpses of classic delicate, melodic and distorted Neon Indian lyrics.
Moving into a darker sound, then back to a more upbeat melody, this section of the set had a spattering of space age-sounding vocals.
Extremely focused, there was little interaction between Palomo and the crowd, which had dwindled and was dancing to the repeating beats.
Within the set, Paloma mixed Paul McCartney’s “Temporary Secretary,” distorting and twisting the vocals against an abrasive electrical beat.
Nearing the end of the show, Palomo also mixed David Bowie’s “It Ain’t Easy,” which was the peak of the set.
Palomo then twisted the tunes of “Funkytown,” originally performed by Lipps Inc., and “Tequila,” originally performed by The Champs.
Palomo ﬁnished his set with an electric synth, gratefully bowed his head and quietly exited the stage.
Overall the set was very electronic and Latin-sounding, with some space age elements thrown in, but otherwise somewhat repetitive. If anything, such a concert would’ve been better received in a larger club setting instead of on a Tuesday night at Starbucks.
For a diehard Neon Indian fan, the DJ set could be considered disappointing, sounding completely different from the infectious songs like “Polish Girl,” “Hex Girlfriend” and “Terminally Chill.”
Palomo’s set was professional and talented, characterized by seamless transitions between interludes, rhythms and synths.
Samuel Francis, member of Northeastern CUP, had positive comments in regards to Palomo’s set.
“I thought it was very unique for such a big act to break off for his own DJ set and not use a lot of his own music,” Francis said.
Overall, the show was a success, and CUP did an impressive job of lining up such a big name performer. Neon Indian was a surprising disappointment, however, with Magic Man stealing the audience and the show.
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
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