Review: Neon Indian at Virgin Mobile FreeFest
By the end of Neon Indian's hour-long set, the dance forest felt more like a dust bowl.
Following quieter acts like Will Eastman and Wolfgang Gartner, the combined oomph of Alan Polomo (the Neon Indian himself), guitarist and singer Ronald Gierhart, drummer Jason Faries, and keyboard player and killer vocalist Leanne Macomber overwhelmed, in a good way.
The fans right near the stage felt it too. It was easily the heaviest crowd in that tent since the day started.
Electronica enthusiasts unfamiliar with Neon Indian and expecting a lonely DJ standing behind a turn-table at the club-music heavy dance tent might have been disappointed by the foursome, but they didn't show it.
They were both packed in front of the stage and sprawled further away under the shade of the trees in the Merriweather forest.
Earlier, when Eastman played, the crowd was wholly in front of the stage, worshipping the DJ up close and highlighting the fact that artists like Eastman usually perform in spaces more enclosed than the dance forest.
Neon Indian’s synthesized and guitar-driven sound brings to mind classic rock band Pink Floyd. All at once they churn out the driving drum beats of “Money”, the rich, orchestral notes of “All of My Love”, the atmospherics of “Echoes”, and a sound that is that is all their own.
The group expertly pairs club staples - frenzied electronics, synthesizers - and an overall speed that makes Interstate 95 look like a parking lot with rock requirements like guitar riffs, fog machines, and of-course the long-haired drummer.
Peter Krause is a features intern at the Baltimore Sun this year. He is a junior at Goucher College, where he majors in English with a minor in Anthropology. A native of Baltimore, he loves to pop in some headphones, jump on his bicycle and jam to Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga, and various techno artists.
Photo: Special to the Baltimore Sun, Josh Sisk