The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Neon Indian Livens up Halloween at UMW

3 min read

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The last place you would expect a project identified as “White Girl Mob” and a psychedelic chill-wave band recreating live, acid-induced experiences is in the Great Hall. With the creative combination of live performances by both Kreayshawn and Neon Indian, it was reality for Mary Washington through the Noisey College Tour on Halloween evening.

Giant Productions announced earlier that they would be allocating 600 student tickets for the concert; rather than risking an absence at the evening’s festivities, students were lining up an hour before wrist band distribution to ensure attendance and enjoyment. The crowd’s impatience kept building once doors opened with students literally rushing in – as fast as they could – to have a good spot. Students were tripping and falling over one another to gain maximum visual exposure for both performances.

The crowd was undeniably energetic for the night ahead of them as everyone cheered for the opening performance by rapper, Kreayshawn, accompanied by her sister, V-Nasty, DJ, and unidentified hype man. Kreayshawn was an unknown rapper from California until she released the video “Gucci Gucci” to the vast throngs of the internet. Here’s the issue: her one-hit-wonder success was incredibly transparent.

Audibly, she was awful; however, as a theatrical performer, Kreayshawn was impressive with her supposedly inappropriate stage tactics. Both she and her sister would grab condom balloons and repeatedly encourage students to practice safe sex while humping the balloons. Her hype man? Not really doing his job when he is depending on crowd involvement based on the same command: “Put your hands up!”

Unfortunately, Kreayshawn did not possess much of the “swag” she boasts in her songs. Kreayshawn closed with her one-hit, “Gucci Gucci,” finally allowing the audience to immerse themselves in the de-individualized-crazy-concert-experience that most audience members were looking forward to.

Neon Indian was a complete 180-degree shift from Kreayshawn, emerging on stage in full costume and blasting super-retro synthesized sounds resembling a super-sonic space ship. With a carefully orchestrated lighting system that corresponded with the act’s beats and the amount of ancient (yet appreciated) equipment on stage, Mary Washington students instantly recognized the opportunity to experience a live show unlike anything this school had been exposed to before.

Neon Indian’s frontman Alan Palomo stole the show with his swift dance moves and dynamic vocals. The fact that the man could run from synthesizer to synthesizer and still simultaneously sing and dance is mind-blowing; that type of energy is absolutely contagious. While most audience members may have been unfamiliar with Neon Indian’s music, many gladly surrendered their inhibitions to the trippy visions each song created before them, indulging in the abstract trance that the band created.

What is interesting about both artists is the fact that they both really found themselves as popular figures through internet influence: Kreayshawn with viral music videos and Neon Indian through the budding indie blogosphere from 2009 to now. The contrast of both artists, albeit interesting, definitely revealed the difference between overly-produced and obviously altered single-hits and carefully constructed and created songs for actual live performance. Regardless, I could not think of any other better way to spend Halloween on campus than attend this concert.

Image courtesy of Mike Drayer/The Bullet.  To view more photos, go here.