Earlier this month, Neon Trees released a statement postponing their Fame is Dead European tour dates due to their bass player Brendan Campbell having to undergo open-heart surgery – London’s Islington Academy however, was one of the few dates that remained for some lucky followers on the 15th September. Arriving at the venue, by no means was it packed out, with tickets still available at the door for the latecomers to the party. Having never seen the band in action before, I was a little unsure how tonight’s events were going to unfold, but knew that with three banger-filled albums under their belt, this band weren’t going down without a dance-off.
As the rest of the band walked sheepishly onto the (rather small) stage to take their positions, the crowd screamed adoringly for the entrance of charismatic front-man Tyler Glenn, who bounded into centre spotlight in all of his glitzy glory, sporting a tasselled golden cowboy jacket and glimmering glitter pants – which I admit, I left the venue wanting an exact copy of. Exploding into Lessons in Love (All Day, All Night), a catchy new-wave 80’s number (with an amplified New Order bassline especially for the occasion) Tyler didn’t waste any time in making full use of the stage, jumping, pirouetting and cavorting around his other – equally trendily dressed – bandmates.
Two songs down and Tyler engaged in his first contact with the crowd – a surprisingly equal mix of old and young – with an unusual welcome. In a monotone Southern California drone, he expressed his disappointment with his record label, having been promised the ‘Wembley moment’ of his career when arriving in good ol’ Blighty, and instead being faced with a somewhat Student Union-esque atmosphere. Nevertheless, after a swift middle finger to The Man, the band trooped on and launched into some new disco-pop tunes, I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends) and Sleeping With a Friend to name just a few highlights – before treating fans to some electrifying classics from the back-catalogue.
If the masses had been enjoying themselves for most of the night, it was nothing compared to the excitement that erupted with the opening chords of the band’s first hit single Animal – which saw onlookers really get involved with the music for the first time during the evening, jumping and dancing to the bouncing choruses and unforgettable ‘Uh-oh, I want some mooooooore!’ chant. Shrugging off the typical wait-backstage-for-two-minutes encore style, the band went out on a high with Everybody Talks, leaving everyone in the house wanting more – the same could possibly be said for the band from their management.
Overall, a top-notch effort from the Utah pop prodigies, who really did put on a show. Not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, Glenn confessed to battling with internal personal issues and using music to overcome the conflicts he had with himself in his twenties (Homosexuality vs. Religion to name one) – instead channelling all efforts into producing upbeat pop songs about finding love in the digital age – and he sure did find a lot of love in Islington last night.
Neon Trees’ new album Pop Psychology is out now – check it out for a dance around your bedroom.