This morning I woke up with Neon Trees's song "Animal" hogging all the available room in my head. "I won't be denied by you/ The animal inside of you." That line's my favorite and the one I get stuck on the most. Partly because of its urgency, but mostly because of the way lead singer Tyler Glenn presents it. Dude can sing. Not many people could make something so predatory sound oh so welcome.
But despite all their catchy chords and fun beats, Neon Trees's pop-rock sound doesn't have longevity and the music felt stale after about five songs at their set last night in the Newport. It was, however, still a great show thanks in large part to three fantastic frontmen.
Young the Giant opened. Their strings got lost, but the drums were noteworthy. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia is a trip. He's entertaining without being over the top and I've never seen someone shake a tambourine so hard. The cherry on the harmony-laden cake is Gadhia's voice. He used two mics; one had a subtle auto-tune effect that created pleasing layers woven amid the complicated rhythms going on behind him. "Cough Syrup" was really well done live.
New Politics played next. These boys are more punk rock and skateboards to Young the Giant's "Pretty in Pink" Duckie. My fellow concertgoer described the trio's sound as a Rage Against the Machine and Muse love child. I'd agree but add that the love child needs Ritalin and Nirvana is its babysitter. They were big flirts, which was a cheap but humorous way to win over the lady-dominant crowd. They rocked it out and the audience loved them.
Most entertaining was New Politics's rapping lead man, David Boyd, who did backflips, break dancing, the robot, you name it.
Boyd on the speakers with security below.
That sounds like it'd be obnoxious but it was pretty refreshing compared to the redundant, angry thrashing you usually see on stage at shows like this. They ended with the single "Yeah Yeah Yeah."
The Neon Trees set was fun. That's the best way to describe it. The crowd finally got moving when they came on stage. It's hard not to dance or at least bounce to their hits. The band was impeccably dressed and Glenn was great, taking off his shoes and walking around like a chicken at one point. He's definitely entertaining.
There was an awkward moment when the poor audience member Glenn pulled on stage didn't know the words to "Sins of my Youth," and he won the young audience at the end by starting the "OH-IO" yell. Sigh.
But, awesomely enough, the moment that got the crowd most pumped was when Glenn started an "Andyman" chant. The lead singer got emotional about how much he loved Columbus and the CD101 DJ who unexpectedly passed away earlier this year.
While their hooks might get old, that admiration never will.