Alan Palomo's lo-fi project Neon Indian played to a well-sized Sunday night crowd at the Rhythm Room last night
What do you do when you create a lo-fi masterpiece -- a meticulous side-project that builds on your already impressive resumé as an electronic music mastermind? Get some friends to tour with you and flesh out your brilliant, albeit subdued, sound. Such is life for Brooklyn musician Alan Palomo, whose latest project, Neon Indian, came through Phoenix last night. Palomo -- better known as the creative force behind VEGA -- played a unique set last night, given that his Psychic Chasms LP is one that champions the burgeoning lo-fi sound and manages to turn the genre on its ear. With the help of some fellow musicians, Palomo created an orchestral, if you will, lo-fi experience that perfectly demonstrated the fascinating and layered sound of Neon Indian.
Taking the stage at roughly 11:30, Palomo and company -- guitarist Ronald Geirhart, drummer Jason Faries and keyboardist/vocalist Leanne Macomber -- jumped right into things, showing the crowd just how Neon Indian would sound live. The live drummer bolstered Palomo's intimidatingly complex keyboard and other electronic equipment setup, adding a fine touch to Neon Indian's fantastically lo-fi sound. Once the band rolled into "Terminally Chill," momentum started to accumulate and the concept behind Neon Indian really came to fruition -- at least in my own head. Palomo brought along his orchestra for his tour, and the results were surprisingly complex, given that Palomo schemed the whole Psychic Chasms album on his own.
Neon Indian's set was short jam-packed with some of the better tracks off of Psychic Chasms -- "Should Have Taken Acid With You," "6669 (I don't know if you know)" and, of course, "Deadbeat Summer," which was as much fun to hear live as it is to listen from the album. Palomo and company kept the crowd moving as they snaked through their intense set, which was ended by the black sheep of the bunch "Ephemeral Artery." That song provided the perfect endnote to a uniquely instrumental -- no, orchestral -- set. Palomo delighted the crowd with an encore consisting of VEGA songs, putting the perfect finishing touches on an already upbeat, frenzied Sunday night affair. Lo-fi doesn't have to be confined to an album format due to the seemingly underwhelming physical aspects of producing such a sound. Alan Palomo knows this, and is no stranger to entertaining crowds with his gifted electronic music mind.
Last Night: Neon Indian at the Rhythm Room.
Better Than: Whatever goofy club DJs that call certain Scottsdale clubs home.
Personal Bias: I think Psychic Chasms is one of the year's 10 best albums.
Random Detail: Video of the Nintendo Entertainment System classic Bubble Bobble was on the screen behind the band while they were setting up. As well, the terminally underrated NES game Fester's Quest played while the band performed.