Nothing screams “burger joint” like greasy fries, chocolate milkshakes, and the outdoor accents of glowing neon…palm trees? Yes, in their formative years Neon Trees members would hang out after concerts at this California-based fast food haven, In-and-Out Burger. To pay tribute to their nostalgia, this is the place where Neon Trees coined their name inspired by the glowing neon palm trees on-site. It’s not the typical formula for musical prodigies, but the band now formally known as Neon Trees have proven they’re sticking around for more than just a taste test. They recently made an appearance at Chicago's House of Blues. But before we dive into the main course, two opening acts of opposite craft set the table for a night of delicious talent.
Conference Champions, although given a shorter set as the opening
performers, earned recognition for their all-encompassing, percussive
finale. The creative collaboration from the three members all on a
single drum set produced a sprightly feeling of togetherness. This
punchy pairing expanded into the crowd as fans rhythmically beat their
heads to the beat of the drums. From a semi-aerial view, the band and
spectators created an illusion as they united as one, sharing the stage.
Amidst the performance, the House of Blues transcended from a light,
poppy reverberation to a sound storm of concentrated luminosity and
thunderous thuds. It was truly a remarkable sight to behold.
next act, the Limousines, surely lived up to their name; swankiness and
flamboyancy were in abundance. As the Limousines put it themselves, “We
are just a couple of queers trying to put on a rock show.” Neon glow
sticks set the scene, bringing us back to the days of underage
electronic raves. With the simple combination of vocals and a synth
board, they sure created one hell of a roar. It was clear that their
raunchy, vulgar lyrics humored the minds of the crowd as they happily
bounced to the genius of the Limousines’ lead singing, “I wanna smile,
just wanna fuck every once in a while.”
the recent jump into the mainstream realm from their first album
release, Neon Trees still seemed untainted by such success. Vocalist
Tyler Glenn, said the rise to fame “felt very natural and organic. Even
though we have a label and are touring, we still feel as if we are a
local band. [We] still have the same grassroots feeling.”
inspiration for his popular song, “Animal,” ranked 13 on the Billboard
Hot 100, was inspired by his eternal need for heartache. Glenn says, “I
seem to need pain and suffering when I’m in love. Instead of fighting
that, I ask for more of it.” He continues his love-biting mantra noting
that, “Taking something that is dark and making light of it, and poking
fun at it has really resonated with people.” And it truly has. Crowds of
Gen Y-er’s full of angst and hormones stood anxiously in line outside
the venue waiting for doors to open, ready to pounce had the bouncers
restrained them a second longer. Neon Trees' name was brightly lit,
acting as a beacon for their love-stricken fans. As the band prepared
their set, the few opportunistic viewers fled to the front of the pit to
ensure they anchored their spot center stage. It was evident that on
this night, Neon Trees took aid in lighting the city of Chicago. Floods
of fans brightened their cell phones, cameras, and hearts to witness the
sexually-infused lyrics uttered from the mouth of Glenn. “Take a bite
out of my heart tonight.”
Neon Trees, though quietly modest in
person, were very at ease on the stage, openly sharing personal stories
about the hardships of high school and the battles of love. Their live
performance was dance-y and lively, but also heartwrenchingly full of
honesty. The audience scream was all the approval the band needed.
Neon Trees is wrapping up this headlining tour, their show is far from
over. A new album is on its way, landing in stores as early as later
this year. If their live performance is any indication, their upcoming
album should be just as dynamic and lively.
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