Over the Weekend: Neon Indian, Nite Jewel, Nice Nice and DJ Jonas Reinhart at Mezzanine

Neon Indian, Nite Jewel, Nice Nice, DJ Jonas Reinhart
Friday, March 26, 2010

Better than: Watching Tron on acid. (Probably.)

Since the hazy synth-pop style known as chillwave had its fuse lit by the blogosphere last year, the music's popularity, and its sound, have outgrown that near-joke of a name. Friday night at Mezzanine, Neon Indian, which is by all click-counts the prince of this musical territory, also rendered its would-be descriptor utterly inaccurate: There wasn't anything chill about the way the band blasted out its infectious dance jams.

​Rather, chief Indian Alan Palomo converted his shrouded laptop-pop into music worthy of Mezzanine's humungous stage by making its performance unfailingly lively. Chugging machine beats, paired with a live drummer, seemed to rattle down to the core of the Earth. Titanic electric guitar riffs cut across songs like lightning bolts thrown by Greek gods. Slippery synth melodies buzzed through Mezzanine's cement cube like an Armageddon-storm, infecting listeners with pandemic efficiency.

​At the center of the stage, with lasers shooting out from behind, was Palomo, captain of some expedition into the future, surrounded by an old Roland synth and a table of knobs, wearing a hoodie mashed-up with the same colors as the cover of his album Psychic Chasms. For a gizmo nerd — or even for a non-gizmo nerd — he seemed at ease with his post. Palomo sauntered, pogo'ed, moonwalked, wiggled, and shook his manic curls wildly onstage, inciting mayhem among the sweaty admirers below. Chillwave has the reputation of being music made by loners esconced in their headphones. But Palomo wielded the power of a party DJ with the poise of a pop-rock frontman.

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