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Neon Indian debut new material at SF’s newest venue Social Hall

Neon IndianBy Justin Yee //

Neon Indian //
Social Hall SF – San Francisco
September 23rd, 2015 //

In what was the second show of a two-night run at SF’s newest concert venue Social Hall, electronic four-piece Neon Indian stuck with new material from their forthcoming album VEGA INTL. Night School with a few fan favorites thrown in for good measure. The new record, which is out October 16th via Mom + Pop Music, is Mexico-born frontman Alan Palomo’s first release since Era Extraña came out in 2011.

I was excited to finally see the band live, not to mention check out what the Social Hall had to offer. This “new” venue, which resides on the lower level of The Regency Ballroom — Mac Miller was actually performing upstairs — isn’t actually new to hosting concerts. I caught a STRFKR and Will Call show at this same spot when it was called The Lodge in 2012, so this feels like more of a re-branding than a grand opening.

Neon Indian

Though I can’t speak to how the first sold-out show was the prior night, my expectations for both the band and venue were not met. I was a little salty when I found out that I purchased a $30 ticket off Ticketmaster, only to find out people got in for free through a sponsorship by upstart music app Jukely. I had never heard of this app before, but I would have loved to put that money toward the overpriced drinks I was consuming. The drinks did little to help the muffled sound that was bleeding through the speakers, as I struggled to recognize which songs the band transitioned into without them saying “this song’s called …” before beginning to play. I couldn’t tell if it was the band or the venue’s sound system and its acoustics that were to blame, but I’d give Neon Indian the benefit of the doubt.

The stage setup itself gave off a high school gym vibe that was highlighted by the primarily young, all-ages crowd — the type of crowd that was yelling for the band to play their hit single “Polish Girl” a quarter of the way into their set and was not all that happy I was taking photos with my camera. As expected, the crowd got the rowdiest for “Deadbeat Summer” and “Polish Girl”, which the band played back to back to close out their set and begin their two-song encore. I grabbed a spot near the back left to see the failed crowd-surfing attempts, and a girl dancing on top of a guy’s shoulders. It was easy to maneuver around the venue, which seemed half full, but it was difficult to catch a glimpse of the band due to the low stage.

Neon Indian

It will be interesting to see what Goldenvoice is able to do with Social Hall as it tries to attract shows that are on a slightly lower scale in size than The Regency Ballroom. Due to the venue’s underground feel that you get from its low ceilings, I think a DJ or EDM act would be a good fit, turning the place into a “Rave Cave” of sorts. Social Hall will have to compete with the likes of Mezzanine, which is tough to beat, but it’s always nice to have another option in SF.

Setlist:
Dear Skorpio Magazine
Annie
The Glitzy Hive
Terminally Chill
Street Level
61 Cygny Ave
C’est La Vie (Say the Casualties!)
Mind, Drips
Slumlord
Slumlord’s Re-lease
Baby’s Eyes
Deadbeat Summer

Encore:
Polish Girl
News From the Sun

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

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Comments

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