An empty venue is always a pleasant site. Music fanatics everywhere know the sweaty feeling of claustrophobia in a packed concert. But Wednesday afternoon was a little different; I got to go behind the scenes with Neon Indian as they prepared for their show at Webster Hall. With hundreds of bands scattering NYC for the CMJ Music Marathon, it was hard to choose what shows to attend. I’m thankful I made the right choice, because Alan Palomo, Neon’s front man and composer, had a few tricks up his sleeve.
With their new album, VEGA INTL. Night School, out today, Alan didn’t want to disappoint in the Big Apple. After all, it’s the bands first tour in three years and in Alan’s words “you got to go all out for New York.” So what did they have planned? Just a unique new technology that connects the movement patterns of each band member and projects the aesthetic on screen, no biggie.
Partnered with Listen, a program of Microsoft, Neon Indian is taking their live shows to the next level with a dynamic light and visual effects experience. Conceptualized by Steve Milton, the technology creates a symbiotic relationship with the music of Neon Indian, feeding a line for the instruments to the pixels of the screen. “We wanted to take the live show to the next level, we were looking for experimental, forward thinking artists and Neon Indian was at the top of that list,” said Steve Milton at the bands sound check.
For Alan, the visual world is nothing new. As a former film student, he remembers the beginning of his musical journey, “I could only communicate my ideas through film and movie references. Anything for cinematic appeal.” So imagine this: a funky, “chillwave” band rocking out with pulsing, psychedelic lights and visuals projecting behind them…The show was quite the experience.