It’s a rare pleasure indeed these days to witness an audience un-ironically waving their hands in the air. The gesture seems to have become relegated to the domain of the sarcastic, and the sardonic. But not so at Neon Indian’s Sydney set. Indeed, despite the thick air of 80’s centric abandon, nothing about the set was dishonest, or for show. As lead singer and mastermind Alan Palomo threw himself about the stage, the layers of artifice were slowly peeled away, revealing a singularly truthful performer.
The majority of the set was culled from Palomo’s recent release, the glitter-meets-grit Vega INTL. Night School. Tracks like the deliciously overwrought Slumlord and The Glitzy Hive grew and transformed in the live setting, gaining swagger and soul in a way that delighted the hypnotised audience.
Like the world’s most enthusiastic Michael Jackson imitator, Palomo sucked up every inch of the stage, throwing back his shoulders and tossing the mic stand from hand to hand. But once again, nothing about these theatrics felt considered, and the more Palomo gave it his all, the more the audience repaid his enthusiasm in kind.
With synth-drums exploding behind him like a barrage of gunfire, Palomo sashayed and shimmyed to Techno Clique, slipping about the space in his silk lined jacket. He spoke only a little, choosing instead to dedicate his energy to the matter at hand – the music – although when he did converse with the audience it was with respect and kindness.
“This is our last song,” Palomo said, before taking a pause and scrunching up his face. “Who are we kidding?” he admitted with a giggle. “We all know we’ll come back. We didn’t come halfway around the world to half ass a set.” And indeed he didn’t. After a short break filled with the rapturous applause of an awaiting audience, Palomo returned to belt out his encore, pogoing around the stage with drumstick in hand. It was a perfect end to a near-perfect gig, one which saw blatant revisionism and 80’s artifice transformed into something new; something fresh; something genuinely unique.