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22 Aug 2017

Live: Neon Indian, Pappy and Harriet's, Aug. 17

Written by 
Neon Indian. Neon Indian. Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net

The torchbearer of chillwave, Neon Indian, aka Alan Palomo, came to Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Aug. 17.

For those not in the know, chillwave is a subgenre of indie filled with retro pop sounds and low tempos. As a fan told me after the show, the bass sound is right out of 1970s porn—which I guess is a micro-retro genre in itself.

Palomo packed Pappy’s with a young crowd—a more diverse group than one would normally see in Pioneertown: Cool Latino urban kids from the OC and L.A. filled the audience.

Immediately apparent was Alan Palomo’s charm. If I properly interpreted the gazes coming from some in the front row, they varied from “Marry me, please!” to “(Censored) me please, right now!” His confidence was outshined only by his smooth sashaying onstage, complemented by the incredible musicians backing him. 

The show started a little after 10 p.m. “Well, this is intimate; any way of killing the front lights?” Palomo asked. The stage turned purple—making things, unfortunately for me, almost impossible to photograph.

A few drum strokes into the set, a wedge near the drummer fell to the ground—one of a series of little mishaps during the performance. Another: A few songs into the incredible show, the bass player cut his finger.

“At least the bass is red,” the lead singer noted.

As Big Dave the bouncer—an excellent bass player himself—helped tend to the bassist’s wounds, Palomo declared: “Now that I am warmed up, we can dance!”

The set list included “The Glitzy Hive,” “Dear Skorpio Magazine” and “Annie,” and Neon Indian performed with furious passion. Palomo pumped up the crowd by saying, “Esta es para los Mexicanos que estan aqui” (“This is for the Mexicans who are here”), as he dedicated “61 Cygni Ave.” 

With a “Thank you so much,” Palomo signaled that the end was near … as another piece of equipment fell.

After leaving for a slight moment, Neon Indian returned to the stage. “We gotta make that shit count!” he said as he ended the show with a precious cover of Prince’s “Pop Life.”

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