A line gathered early downstairs of the Magic Stick of mostly younger people waiting for doors to open for the Neon Indian show this past Sunday evening. The doors were about 30 minutes late to open for some reason, but its a nice night out so I doubt anyone cared too much. As everyone started to file in, a slice of the pizza at the amazing Sgt. Pepperoni's Pizzeria & Deli at the Majestic Complex was definitely in order as I observed the crowd waiting in anticipation for the show.
The tour's opening bands were set up on the Magic Stick Lounge side (where all the pool tables used to be), an idea incorporated in the past year to house smaller shows in the venue and make it more intimate for the bands and audience. Neon Indian was set up on the Magic Stick's main stage though; a novel idea for the night to build a bit more anticipation for the headline act. Upon doors opening, the lounge side of the Stick filled up quite fast; maybe too much of a crowd for the set up.
As the opening acts started to play, a good amount of people enjoyed smokes and some spirits outside on the patio called the Alley Deck; another great idea this venue has brought on in the past couple years.
Silent Diane opened the show and they were a two-piece guy/girl act on a bit of a chilled out electro vibe. There seems to be a lot of these bands in existence these days. They actually sounded good though opening with more spaced out new wave sound until they built up to more of a bouncy rhythm that got the crowd moving by sets end.
As this mostly younger crowd continued to pack in, there are touches of people of all ages out for the show. It was definitely a fun and receptive crowd from the get go.
Next up was Lemonade, a three-piece group that's a mixture of electronics and percussion on a bit of synth-pop sound with some really danceable tunes. The lead singer mentions this is their first time playing Detroit and they went over with the crowd quite nicely. Their sound really built up successfully throughout their set touching unexpectedly onto a house music vibe that had much of the crowd up front bouncing on their feet.
Now that the openers were done, and well received by this energetic crowd here in Detroit, it was time for the main act, the Texas-based indie electronic band Neon Indian, the brainchild of musician/composer Alan Palomo. When they opened up the curtains to access the main stage area, the crowd ran to the stage like the Beatles were up there.
The Neon Indian set was very viscerally ethereal. The electronic rock of Neon Indian conjures the soundscape of a 1980s John Hughes or Brat Pack movie mixed with the lo-fi noise of Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine. Palomo and the band kept the energy high and steady; with mind boggling transitions between songs that were aesthetically divine. The innate movement of Neon Indian's music and the way they present it onstage is sensuous with a fun-loving innocence.
The set list spanned throughout all three Neon Indian albums, and the crowd loved it. Palomo even mentioned many times throughout the show how definitively amazing the Detroit crowd was in comparison to other cities or even his previous times in Detroit. It was party from the beginning the night, and Detroit was as much of the reason as was the great bands that played that Sunday night. Good job, Detroit.
(Photos by Kelly Frazier)