Live: Neon Indian Do “Christmas In July” In Reverse At Mercury Lounge


Neon Indian/MNDR/Toro y Moi
Mercury Lounge
Tuesday, December 15

“Play that Pitchfork song, man!” hoots some dude in the crowd semi-derisively — yeah, it’s gonna be that kind of show. The gentleman is referring, one supposes, to the Top 100 Tracks of 100, and Neon Indian’s double-dip therein, though honestly #74 (“Should Have Taken Acid With You”) is way better than #13 (“Deadbeat Summer”), if only because it’s fuckin’ mid-December.

Mercifully, onstage NI is a full-band affair, a twee keyboardist, quasi-shredding lead guitarist, and disco-minded drummer added to frontman/mastermind Alan Palomo’s bleating smear of defiantly retro and oft painfully tinny electronics. (His much-praised Psychic Chasms is intent on sounding like someone has strapped a blaring clock radio to your head.) It’s better live, but still a fairly indistinct wash of gooey, ramshackle dream pop; “Acid” uses a nice discordant note of melancholy pathos to counteract all the electro Beach Boys hoo-hah, but there’s not a whole lot else to cling to, and squirmy, bedheaded Alan (“How’s everybody doing today?”) isn’t much help. They encore with a louder, faster, angrier space-disco number (“No Reasons”) from his other band, VEGA, and seem to enjoy that way more. As do we.

One-man-band Toro y Moi is a similar deal: ramshackle Casio (or Korg, I guess) funk, largely prerecorded, and setting a lovely early-Prince sort of mood until the dude starts singing, looping and layering his heavily reverbed and falsetto-prone voice multiple times and hoping that if you average them all together he’ll be singing the right note. One-woman Brooklyn-by-way-of-Oakland band MNDR is way, way more enjoyable — I am profoundly suspicious of anyone who self-identifies as “ghettotech,” but she’s brassy and volatile and cheeseball-anthemic in a not-unlike-Lady-Gaga sort of way. “OK, seriously, you can move to this music!” she thunders at a packed house too mesmerized by her light show to move. “This is techno!” Nonplussed, she soon moves on to the next track: “This is about being in love in China. And post-Bush globalization. This is not a joke. Everything I do is dead serious.”

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