This chlllwave band made the biggest name for itself on opening night shaking That Tent with the heaviest bass I’ve experienced since Crystal Castles performed on the same stage last year.
Envision the audience chucking glow sticks at the stage during “Terminally Chill,” track two off Neon Indian’s 2009 debut Psychic Chasms, only to have them kicked back by an invisible force. Everyone around me was tripping hard and thought sinister magic was afoot, but I knew not to fear, for it was only the bass.
The beat rattled and reverberated up my spine and into my chest cavity, repeatedly punching my heart like Mike Tyson on a speed bag, stopping my ticker with one massive blow only to graciously revive me a few thumps later.
Bottom line, some people may say that Spingsteen’s The River or Nirvana’s Nevermind “Saved their life,” but Alan Polomo (the brains behind Neon Indian’s trippy operation) is actually capable of preserving the existence of a living creature.
The music is bass heavy but not completely dominated by it. Leanne Macomber tickled the electric ivories, providing the necessary poppy beat behind Polomo’s wall of sound, in turn separating Neon Indian from other psychedelic synth acts.
And on a personal note: Leanne was beautiful. When the red and yellow lights caught her correctly, any alien visitor would bow in respect taking her for the goddess of the keyboards…moving on.
The best way I can describe Polomo’s filtered vocals, the gurgling squeals and shrieks generated from his lap top, distorted by his bulky keyboard, and shot through amps into us innocent bystanders, is to call it a deep space dance party. But the strangest had yet to come.
Toward the back end of the set, led by the distorted guitar sound of Ronald Gierhart (the body of his axe had a built in electronic screen that generated pictures of faces and other weird images) played over an irresistible dance beat, Neon Indian belted out its single “Deadbeat Summer” and, without warning or introduction, were joined on stage by a group of scantily clad females in homemade Indian costumes. Some had strategically placed feathers on their bodies. Others didn’t bother. The band seemed just as confused as the audience…I love Bonnaroo!!!
It was truly the best performance of the night. Neon Indian will blow up like Phoenix did last year after its Roo-Fest performance.