If you weren't at Fourth Street last night for the kick-off party of the summer with Neon Trees, you missed out on an unforgettable night. Presented by radio stations 102.3 The Max and 99.7 DJX, Nightmare and the Cat and Neon Trees gave its fans a night thrumming with energy. The stage lights illuminated on a crowd ready to enjoy the blasting music and flowing drinks.
The opening act, Nightmare and the Cat, was an British-American indie rock band that hails from Los Angeles. I must say their instrumentals were very well executed. Showing off his smooth moves and hair tosses, the lead singer, Django Stewart, played his tambourine to music that was folkish-rock in sound, but also hauntingly moody in its emotion. Band member Claire Acey gained my respect by playing both the guitar and the drums while singing. From their latest EP album Simple, the band played “Undercover,” “Goodbye So Many Times,” and “Alvarado.”
Neon Trees made one epic entry onto the stage. A white sheet was dropped down in front of the stage to hide the set up activity. Shortly thereafter, the opening song “Lessons in Love” began to play. The bright stage lights and split-LED screens emphasized the band members' silhouettes, which made an definite statement and got the crowd going. It wasn't until about halfway through the song that the sheet was released and we were able get our first glimpse of Neon Trees.
The full duration of the show, the band displayed an enviable confidence and their vocals were amazingly clean. It is always disappointing when you see an artist who doesn't sound as good live as they do on their album. Neon Trees did not disappoint in the slightest. There never once was a lull; it was a fun event for everyone in attendance.
Lead vocalist Tyler Glenn was quite theatrical on stage, jumping up and then landing on his knees. At one point, he was getting in some cardio time by doing jumping jacks. In fact, there were moments where he was channeling King of Pop Michael Jackson with his fancy footwork. It was obvious he was having fun performing. I also must mention his illuminated microphone stand, which I had never seen the likes of anything similar before.
Just a brief aside, the band members' outfits were cohesive with their band name. Glenn donned a purple suit complete with platform shoes and Elaine Bradley was rocking a neon green dress. There were a few wardrobe changes during the show.
After their opening song, the band went on to play their first track off their latest album Pop Psychology “Love in the 21st Century.” To introduce the song, Tyler Glenn talked about his disgust for apps that have substituted for a tangible, real love connection.
Of course, the band played their radio hits “Animal” and “Everybody Talks.” After “Animal,” Glenn proudly introduced the band members to the crowd. My favorite part of the entire event though was the two duets “Mad Love” and “Unavoidable” between Glenn and Bradley. Bradley came to the stage from her elevated drum set to serenade the crowd with Glenn. They performed some light choreography as they blended their voices in a sweet harmony. Their on-stage chemistry was riveting.
Other songs played from Pop Psychology included “Text Me in the Morning,” “Teenager in Love,” and “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends).” Glenn also performed their cover “Don't You Want Me Baby” and the crowd went wild. Their last song before the encore was “Living in Another World.” At the song's conclusion, Glenn expressed appreciation to the fans for their support.
The band members left the stage as a giant brain - yes, you read that correctly - was inflated between the elevated drum set and keyboard. This was puzzling at first. But then, a few moments later, Neon Trees came back onstage to play “Where is My Mind.” To finish off the night, their final song was “First Things First.”
Photos: Jared Burnett