Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo is kind of nerdy.
Fans at the Grog Shop Saturday learned of his nostalgic obsession with Terminator novelties, which he had shopped earlier at the Big Fun toy store around the corner. He apologized, strangely, that the T-1000 figure he was hoping to perch on the kick drum wouldn’t stay put and was sadly unavailable.
He then apologized for taking up too much of the crowd’s time with his Terminator rant, and compensated with a new song from his group's upcoming album.
The warped, poppy track featured a grinding keyboard line and a busy kick drum. It treads in familiar sonic territory for Neon Indian, but the lack of familiarity had the crowd frozen until the chorus came back, then hands were in the air.
Fans packed into the Grog for the band’s set, which was performed with a drummer, a guitarist/bassist, and two keyboard players (Palomo was one of them). Shoved together body-to-body, the crowd tussled to Psychic Chasms hits “Local Joke,” “Terminally Chill,” and “Deadbeat Summer” like a box full of unnaturally sweaty puppies.
Feeding off the audience, Palomo moved emphatically around the stage, pumping the microphone and falling to his knees. But his physical passion was diminished by the layers of vocal effects that swallowed his voice, drowning the force a notch.
Still, the upbeat energy of the band, with the pulsing beats and indelible melodies, made for a successful show judging by the crowd’s persistent swirling and enthusiastic ovations capping each song.
Also contributing to the night’s energy, openers Oberhofer provided choppy contrast to Neon Indian's smooth chillwave with their set of hook-based pop-rock. Their songs’ quick changes and fast tempos offset the melancholy chords, giving the performance a lively and uplifting tone. Proving twice that the group isn’t too hip to jump-kick off their amps, their stage presence and vibrant, dynamic songs won over an initially reserved crowd. —Adam Burroughs